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FIA F1 - Following The Money

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By Rick Carlton - Senior Motorsports Editor

Austin, Nov. 10, 2012: In a decision by the Austin City Council Thursday, property adjacent to the new Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) motorsports park has been annexed away from Southeastern Travis County directly impacting millions of dollars in lost property taxes including potential revenues associated with the 3.4-mile racetrack itself. Currently the property is valued at $92.2 million, with a taxable value of $80.7 million. Formal annexation of the initial parcel will take effect Dec. 17 of this year with a move toward annexation of the venue itself shortly.

Specific losses associated with the annexation will primarily come from the County's Emergency Service District No. 11 which will continue to be responsible for picking up the bill for emergency and transportation management services associated with the multi-year F1 contract, in addition to the the kick-off for next year's FIM MotoGP contract.

Ken Bailey, chief of the area's Travis County Fire Rescue, said he hopes Austin will enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with his fire department, since his facilities are entirely funded by district property and sales taxes, but there is currently has no agreement in place, 'How are we going to get resources to the community when the roads are closed? The only way to do that is to stage people ahead of time', Bailey said. His department estimates that putting fire trucks and personnel in the neighborhoods near the circuit can cost as much as $300,000 a year, he continued, 'We have more risk and less tax dollars.'

The City had considered the annexation move during run up to final planning for the COTA development but decided, instead to wait until the land was developed. The inital parcel encompassed 1,521 acres, with most of the annexed land owned by COTA.