America’s Cup organizers have netted only a fraction of the funds San Francisco needs this year to plan the massive 2013 yacht race, but officials say that as soon as they receive their tax-exempt status, the money will start flowing.
If it doesn’t, San Francisco taxpayers will be on the hook. Some $12 million is budgeted in the coming fiscal year for the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to conduct environmental planning and get necessary state and federal permits. Yet the nonprofit responsible for offsetting the city’s $32 million in costs has only $2 million on hand to mitigate the bill.
If the America’s Cup Organizing Committee can’t come up with the other $10 million, it would have to come from San Francisco’s general fund, which is dedicated to basic city services such as police, fire protection and road construction.
A big selling point of the America’s Cup was that it would provide a huge boost for the local economy at no cost to taxpayers. San Francisco voters have traditionally resisted backing private endeavors with public money, including the rejection of two proposals in the late ’80s for taxpayer money to fund a new waterfront stadium for the Giants.
Kyri McClellan, executive director of the America’s Cup Organizing Committee, said the tax-exempt approval is expected in August. After that, she predicted, donors will become more comfortable writing seven-figure checks and the committee should raise the remaining millions by October or November, when final impact reports are filed under the California Environmental Quality Act.