By Robert Haugh
Last week, we heard rumblings that the City was preparing to go to court to challenge the 49ers’ huge tax break that the Assessment Appeals Board gave them.
But now the City doesn’ t have to. County Assessor Larry Stone appealed the decision on Monday.
According to City Hall sources, Stone and the County were informed last Friday that the city would file a lawsuit this week.
Hanson Bridgett was hired to represent the city. The law firm represented the City when the 49ers tried to reduce their own stadium rent. And they won big. The decision was so big in the City’s favor that they got a Leg Drop Award.
Here’s what the City said in a press release Monday afternoon:
“While City officials were prepared to take similar legal actions, we are satisfied that Assessor Stone’s actions demonstrate his understanding of the seriousness of the situation as well as his commitment to objective assessments based on facts and data.
“The City believes Assessor Stone’s position for the appeal is strong and will correct this flawed outcome, resulting in the County Assessor’s original assessment being restored. In 2010, the 49ers appeared to fully support and understand the millions of dollars in tax revenue that would go to the community from their stadium interest as demonstrated through campaign materials in support of Measure J that would bring a stadium to Santa Clara.”
The County sent out a press release a few hours earlier. They finally told the public how big the tax break really is:
“The Assessment Appeals Board decision resulted in a one-time refund of over $36 million, and an estimated on-going annual property tax reduction of $6 million. The Santa Clara Unified School District absorbed the greatest reduction of over $13 million. The agencies affected also include the West Valley Community College (over $3 million), the City of Santa Clara (about $3 million), and the Santa Clara County general fund (over $5 million). Several other public agencies refunded the balance.”
It’s not just a one-time $36 million as Stone was saying months ago. It’s $6 million a year. And the 49ers have a 40-year stadium lease. So it’s $240+ million. Wow.
We think it’s the biggest tax break in County history unless it’s overturned. Let’s hope Stone and the County don’t blow it.
Editor’s Note: We’ll recap Tuesday’s City Council meeting tomorrow.