To the editor:
H. Jensen (Oct. 19) and the Democratic candidates for the Salt Lake County Commission have totally missed the point regarding the "non-competitive agreement" between the county and Larry H. Miller.The Jazz and the Golden Eagles are private businesses that rent the Salt Palace for their games. The county does not own or operate the companies, it simply rents them a place to play.
Like any good businessman, Miller looked into the near future and saw his businesses were going to lose a great deal of money if they continued to play at the Salt Palace. The building can't hold enough ticket-buying fans to pay the bills. Miller was faced with three options. He could lose money, sell his teams or build his own larger arena. Miller took the high road and at great personal financial risk chose to build the new arena.
How does this then affect the Salt Palace? Those two teams provide approximately 82 nights of bookings at the Salt Palace. Without the teams renting space, the arena would require a tax subsidy to support.
A citizens' task force and a private consultant group both reviewed the options for the future of the Salt Palace arena. Each concluded that financially, Salt Lake could not support two arenas. To maintain the Salt Palace arena would require a huge tax subsidy.
So rather than raise taxes to support an unneeded arena, the commissioners chose to get out of the arena business altogether.
That is why Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and the state of Utah have formed a coalition to focus on the convention and tourism business for a remodeled Salt Palace. This option is projected to bring over $500 million in new revenue to our community in the first seven years following the change.
Assistant to Commissioner Tom Shimizu