A King County council member wants the public’s opinion on whether the Mariners should receive millions of dollars in public funding for Safeco Field.
Councilmember Rod Dembrokski introduced legislation Thursday that proposed a public advisory vote on the funding be put on the February 2019 special election ballot.
“From the original Kingdome bonds, to Safeco Field’s construction and the financing of CenturyLink Field, the public has always been asked to weigh-in before significant public funding was approved,” Dembrowski said in a statement.
Dembrowski plans to offer the legislation Wednesday during the Committee of the Whole meeting.
The Mariners have asked for $180 million for Safeco Field upkeep, including structural improvements and maintenance on the HVAC system and roof. If the team isn’t given the funds, the Mariners have said they would have to renegotiate their lease with the Public Facilities District, which owns the building.
The $180 million request has sparked controversy and gained a growing list of opponents, including councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Dave Upthegrove, who have suggested the money be used for affordable housing instead.
The funding would come from lodging taxes, which can be spent on tourism promotion, arts, workforce housing, or homeless youth.
“The public deserves to weigh in on how we prioritize this funding,” Dembrowski said in a statement.
Safeco Field, which opened in 1999, was initially publicly financed with taxpayers footing $380 million of the $517 million construction bill.