It has been said by some Republican politicians that this editorial page never met a tax or a public expenditure it didn’t like. But sometimes, conservatism has its place.
It is so with a request from the Carolina Mudcats that Wake County spend $1.5 million to replace the out-of-date scoreboard at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.
The current scoreboard is indeed 12 years old and may need replacing. But taking $1.5 million from the county’s hotel and restaurant tax revenue to buy and install a 34-by-82-foot scoreboard is an idea that needs a second and third look. For one thing, that seems like a great deal of money for a minor-league scoreboard. For another, despite arguments from the Mudcats that a better scoreboard would enhance the experience of fans, do those fans really care that much about it? It’s doubtful that a lower-cost scoreboard would keep the fans away from their beloved Mudcats.
The county has invested $23 million over the years to build and renovate the Mudcats stadium, and it was a charter project for the hotel-meals tax, which is supposed to go for projects that enhance economic development.
There’s no question the Mudcats invigorate the economy. And, yes, the additional advertising revenue from the scoreboard would doubtless help the Mudcats. But the team seems strong, for which owner Steve Bryant can take credit.
One question is whether the county should pick up the tab for the sign on the logic that it would help protect the investment already made, bring in more money for the Mudcats and somehow enhance the county’s financial position if the Mudcats leave the stadium.
Or should the Mudcats pay a substantial portion of the sign’s cost or perhaps scale down the proposed scoreboard to save the county money?
Just questions. Trying to be conservative, don’t you know.