I won’t be able to give folks a full review of the WooSox Community Benefits Agreement. As has been reported, the project is already nearly $30 million over budget, and Ed Augustus’s promises of no existing taxpayer dollars are looking more and more like the “read my lips” of yesteryear.
I’d like to summarize the more interesting points of the CBA, which is in this evening’s city council meeting’s agenda:
1 – The city is the only entity firmly committing a dollar amount ($3 million in CDBG funding over the next five years).
2 – The team is going to commit to following the law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Massachusetts minimum wage. If “we will comply with the law” was so much in question that you needed to get it in the agreement, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing business with that entity!
3 – The team is going to let the city have access to the stadium [that the city owns] for 8 revenue-generating events a year for the first five years. Since they already agreed to it, it’s nice that they were able to remember that and get it in this document.
4 – Anything you see the team agree to (10 community days a year, 15 community meetings a year, hiring practices, giving schoolkids free tickets, polling place, etc.) is only good for the first five years.
5 – The city will be given a suite in the ballpark. Keep an eye on that, kids.
6 – They’re going to have recycling bins, family/gender-neutral bathrooms and a place for women to breastfeed. Like, normal things any business that wants to attract people would do. Good for them!
7 – The team is a bigger fan of endeavoring and exploring than even Captain Cook. They’re going to try to do a lot of things, like hiring local people, women, as long as it’s reasonable and maybe their third-party concessionaire will do the same, as long as it’s commercially feasible.
In short, we are committing $3 million of funds (never mind the tens of millions we are already on the hook for) so that we can get a guarantee that a company will comply with the law (!) and do things that are advantageous to their business.
At the end of 5 years, how much more will the city have to commit to continue to get these same “benefits”?