Philadelphia Union have paid off the club’s overdue 2012 payment in lieu of taxes due the city of Chester.
The Union paid $500,000 to Chester about three weeks ago, Chester Mayor John Linder said Tuesday. The two sides are still negotiating an outstanding payment for 2010.
Overall, the two sides are much closer to complete resolution than they were a year ago.
“We have resolved (it), and you know, contrary to what is written in the newspapers, we’ve paid our taxes,” Sakiewicz said Saturday in an interview with the Philly Soccer Page, the video of which was posted earlier today.
The Union had agreed to annually pay $500,000 in lieu of taxes to the city government under the deal that established the MLS franchise in Chester. However, the Union did not meet anticipated deadlines for the 2010 and 2012 payments, something the Union attributed to negotiations over how to settle additional public works efforts the club paid for in Chester while building PPL Park.
Sakiewiecz estimated that more than $8 million was spent on street cleanup, landscaping, snow plowing, moving a pedestrian bridge to a new location, and other public works jobs. The Union have not asked for any payment from Chester for those efforts but rather the concession to pay the remaining $500,000 payment in lieu of taxes over a more extended period of time.
“All we’re asking is some relief on the 2010 payment,” Sakiewiecz said Tuesday in a follow-up interview.
Linder and Sakiewicz described the relationship between the team and city as a good working partnership and felt negotiations were moving positively, though Linder did have some concerns about repayment.
“We’re an economically distressed city, and we just don’t have much wiggle room,” Linder said.
Last year, news of the overdue payments broke shortly after Linder proposed new city taxes that would tax parking for major events throughout the city, but until now, it was never clear exactly what was at the heart of negotiations over the 2010 payment.
Linder said city officials are still considering a parking ordinance that would tax lots around the city, but that initiative is more focused on improvised lots set up in the neighborhoods outside PPL Park’s footprint.
“The Union wouldn’t be as affected as the people around the stadium who are setting up parking,” Linder said.