HIGH POINT — The incoming Guilford County Board of Commissioners will consider High Point’s 2017 request to help finance its downtown stadium.
Skip Alston, the longest-tenured commissioner and probable chairman of the new board that will be installed Monday with a 7-2 Democratic majority, said January is his goal for a briefing and possible action on the matter.
“I want to deal with it as soon as possible,” he said.
The current board has never acted upon the city’s request for the county to commit about $11.2 million over 20 years to help pay off the construction debt on Truist Point.
Last month’s election flipped control of the board from Republican to Democrat for the first time since 2012.
Commissioner Carlvena Foster of High Point, who was the only member of the board to support the city’s request, said she hopes High Point will put forth the same proposal.
“The city is excited about this opportunity, because the dollars are needed now even more so than they were then,” Foster said.
The city’s financing plan for the stadium, which opened in 2019 with the independent league baseball team High Point Rockers as primary tenant, relies on several revenue streams to pay off the $49 million in principal and interest over 20 years on the limited obligation bonds the city issued to finance the construction.
High Point asked the county to allocate a portion of its share of new property tax revenue from future development around the stadium to the bond debt.
Commissioners voted in September 2017 to postpone stadium funding talks to allow for more time to study the city’s request, but they have not taken up the matter since then.
City leaders argued that their request posed no risk to the county because it would not lose any revenue it’s currently getting and that the stadium will drive an increase in the county tax base by attracting new commercial and residential growth.
“As we laid out for the commissioners the first time,” interim City Manager Randy McCaslin said, “any financial assistance would be appreciated and will certainly shorten or lessen the bond payment requirements on our end.”
He said the city is in the process of gathering updated tax values and other data to present to the county.
Alston said he supports the city’s proposed revenue-sharing arrangement as presented in 2017.
“We have three new members on the board,” he said. “They need to be briefed about it and get their comments on it. I feel that we need to do the right thing as far as High Point is concerned, but we still have to make sure we go through the process of letting everybody, especially new members, chime in.”
Foster said she and Commissioner-elect James Upchurch of High Point have been working on the stadium-funding issue, and she expects it to be part of a new spirit of cooperation between the county and city.
“We’re just looking forward to being good partners,” she said. “The flip of this board will allow more dollars to flow through High Point.”