PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday delayed a vote on a massive renovation at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

If the renovations measure were to pass, the City would revamp the building at a cost of $230 million, a portion of which would come from the Suns organization.

The City insists the big price tag will come at a minimum cost to taxpayers. It says the money will come from tourism taxes, which will hit "out-of-towners" the most.

Some of the plans for the renovation include a new roof, scoreboard and food dock on the main concourse.

The renovations could keep the team playing in downtown Phoenix through at least 2037.

The Suns have been asking the City for an updated arena for years, but have been unable to get the Council to publicly consider a deal until recently.

[RELATED: City of Phoenix preparing to vote on $150 million makeover of Suns' arena]

Interim Mayor Thelda Williams and City Council members Debra Stark and Laura Pastor released a brief statement Wednesday saying the issue will be continued Jan. 23.

In the meantime, City leaders are asking for two hearings to allow the public to weigh in.

[RELATED: Poll shows opposition to Suns arena deal]

The decision indicates the Council doesn't have the five votes needed to approve that deal at this time.

Over the past week, three of the eight Council members publicly said they planned to vote no.

Under the proposed agreement, Phoenix would pay $150 million to upgrade the nearly 30-year-old Talking Stick Resort Arena, the oldest in the NBA that is not currently being renovated. The Suns agreed to kick in another $80 million and pay for any improvements over the $230 million mark.

The Suns agreed to a 40-year lease in 1992, but the deal included a provision for the team to opt out at 30 years.

Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said Wednesday that he is optimistic Phoenix will keep the team despite today's setback.

"They are a critical part of the downtown," Zuercher said.

However, time is ticking to settle the issue.

The City is holding a mayoral election in March and the leading candidate, Kate Gallego, has said that she strongly opposes spending public money on sports arenas.

She recently told Arizona's Family that team owner Robert Sarver should spend his own money fixing up the arena.

Gallego sent out the following statement.

I applaud Mayor Williams and members of the Phoenix City Council for listening to Phoenicians and delaying the vote on Talking Stick Resort Arena to allow for additional public input. The city has been considering the best options for the Suns’ future in Downtown Phoenix for years – this is not an issue that should be rushed through a council vote. We should lead by example and provide a well-executed and timely forum for public feedback. Phoenix has limited resources and many competing needs such as public safety, infrastructure, and providing solutions for homelessness.

Voters know where I stand. Professional sports are among the most profitable enterprises in America, and they can pay for their own facilities.

The Suns have been a significant asset to Phoenix culture, community, and business. I hope to work with ownership to keep them in Downtown Phoenix, but without a public subsidy.

[APP USERS: Click here for poll]

 


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(12) comments

nuusmaan

So are governments going to fund resorts with their private owners, or theme parks, or amusement parks or other destinations that attract tourists? What about offices that attract visitors for sales calls? I would like to know why sports venues merit different treatment for the business owners who use them?

TCAZ

Could we start a "Go Fund Me" page for them??!? [ninja]

TRUMP supporter

Suns ? I thought those loosers left town years ago.

TRUMP supporter

Why don't we let the sport teams take care of themselves? Put the money where it is needed like public schools or homeless kids.

TCAZ

I'm sure that over 80% disapproving in the poll will have little impact on the council. Heck ... why not just tack this on to license tag renewal ??

ObeyLaws

I hear there is talk of bringing a professional NBA team to Phoenix.... That would be a nice change.

Dean

notice the survey on this site. 80% of the people do not want to pay for the 20% who go to the games. And you can bet a large number of that 20% is the players and owners of the sports teams who do not pay tees anyway. How about thse 20% who want to pay for it dig into their own pockets? Oh and how many tourists even ever see that lousy place? Maybe 1% or less. I have done a lot of traveling so paid a lot for this kind of rip off and never even knew where any of the arenas were yet I have paid thousands of dollars for them..

Wayne kenoff

How about we use that money for some actual talent, AZ?

JustSaying

We all know what it means when the City Council says "minimum cost to taxpayers". How about NO. City Council, how about you take care of the "must have" first, and then we can talk about the "nice to have".

JustinP

Bingo. It is coming from taxpayers as that 'special tax' money needs to be used more efficiently so tourists KEEP coming back. It is pretty high now. Rent a car and see if you aren't paying.... good luck.

testaal

Instead of a tax, how about we raise the rent?

JustinP

Yep. There are multiple ways for this to be done without using tax money.

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