Schaumburg mayoral candidates debate food sales at Boomers Stadium
Schaumburg's three mayoral candidates are continuing their debate over the Schaumburg Boomers' lease agreement at Boomers Stadium, this time with a focus on the food, beverage and merchandise sales there.
Candidate Nafees Rahman is questioning why previous lease terms requiring that 10 percent of such sales be shared with the village and Schaumburg Park District were not carried over when Boomers owner Pat Salvi took over the agreement.
Rahman said his questions are underscored by the fact that Salvi also owns the company that sells concessions at the stadium, which is co-owned by the village and park district.
But fellow candidates Tom Dailly and Matthew Steward are defending the business practices, which allowed the return of baseball to the stadium after its original tenant, the Schaumburg Flyers, folded.
Dailly, a longtime trustee who was on a four-year hiatus from the village board when Salvi's first lease was signed, said the village and park district lease the interior of the stadium to him to run a baseball operation.
From the landlords' perspective, it makes no difference whether he chooses to sell concessions himself or outsource that to another company, Dailly added.
Steward believes a lack of transparency by the village could be the root of Rahman's not finding the answers he's seeking through Freedom of Information requests. However, he added, it's not a problem that the village and park district don't get a cut of food and merchandise sales.
Based on his experience in the food and beverage industry, profit margins in that field are relatively narrow, Steward said.
He saw it as a mark of wisdom on Salvi's part not to sign a lease giving up 10 percent of such sales -- particularly to a landlord already collecting rent and taxes.
In 2014, the village and park district reached a new agreement for the Boomers' rent, establishing an annual license use fee that Dailly did vote in favor of. The annual lease cost began at either $75,000 or 3 percent of the team's total revenue, whichever was greater. The share of gross revenue will reach 10 percent in 2019 and remain at that level.
Village officials said the overall revenue figure includes food and merchandise sales.
Village tax revenues, including for merchandise, food, beverage and ticket sales, from the stadium have totaled about $304,000 over the past four years -- an average of about $76,000 annually, officials said.
In answer to Rahman's criticism that the stadium isn't financially self-sufficient, Dailly said no element of the village stands entirely on its own, including the police and fire departments.
But property taxes have never been part of the village's revenue stream for the stadium, he added.
All three candidates say they want to see more events and activities at the stadium to generate more revenue.
Dailly said he's been a proponent of bringing in artificial turf to increase the ballpark's capacity, which Steward also supports.
Election Day is Tuesday, April 2.