Even though he couldn't move his colleagues, Elk Grove City Councilmember Spease set the tone for future zoo finance disclosures

Elk Grove City Councilmember Kevin Spease grilled the Sacramento Zoological Society
about their $50 million commitment toward the $300 million construction costs. |  

For those who have followed the Sacramento Zoo relocation to Elk Grove project with any degree of curiosity, there was very little new ground covered in the almost four-hour hearing on May 8. Participants heard the same information about the park's layout, some information on the SZS's business plan, and lots of sheeting from zoo supporters in attendance. 

However, in the last 45 minutes or so, District 3 City Councilmember Kevin Spease presented a crucial wrinkle to the $300 project: the application of some pressure on the SZS. See video below. 

As we saw, zoo representatives admitted they have only about $2 million in hand towards their $50 million bill but promised they would raise all the cash.

Notably, Spease tried to convince his four city council colleagues to make the SZS commit to having their $50 million cash in the hand of Elk Grove - not in future donation - before any construction starts on the zoological park. Not surprisingly, once the meeting progressed beyond the Unicorns and Rainbows that filled the city council chamber, not only was Elk Grove City Council member Rod Brewer "pissed," but so were the two SZS representatives, executive director Jason Jacobs and board president Elizabeth Stallard.

Spease's suggestion that the SZS provide its entire $50 before construction starts was not adopted. However, the lengthy finance discussion took the wind out of the audience's sails. 

More importantly, Spease established a point of reference for the SZS. For example, if the SZS doesn't have the $27.5 million it promised in one year, but only vague promises, will the city proceed with construction, exposing Elk Grove taxpayers to more liability?

Spease has effectively set the tone for future finance discussions. Cash will be king.

As Spease demonstrated, approving the project before a fawning audience is one thing; paying for it will be another.  

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Renegade said...

It seems Kevin is THE ONLY ONE looking out for the the citizen's future tax burden! Not the Mayor of any of the remaining council members. They had the opportunity once Kevin defended his position that his #1 duty as in his elected position was to safeguard the (financial) well being of the citizenry. No one else agreed. Should be food for thought in November.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Bravo Kevin Spease!

“When they judge you, yawn.
When they misunderstand you, smile.
When they underestimate you, laugh.
When they condemn you, ignore.
When they envy you, rejoice.
When they oppose you, prevail.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

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