The San Francisco 49ers celebrated a big win Wednesday, and it will turn out to be a big loss for Santa Clara County, especially for schools.
The property value of Levi’s Stadium to the team is being drastically reduced, and the county is suddenly on the hook for tens of millions of dollars. County agencies not only have to refund $36 million to the 49ers, but they’ll also lose out on more than $6 million a year going forward.
The Santa Clara County Assessment Appeals Board cut in half the stadium's assessed value to the 49ers. The team is being assessed only during football season, though it makes some money from concerts and controls events year-round.
"If I control all of the events that happened in the stadium outside of football, I have a value," county Assessor Larry Stone said. "That’s what I think the assessment appeal board ignored."
Schools are on the hook for $13 million. They'll also lose out on $2.5 million annually going forward. But the Santa Clara Unified School District says no programs will be cut.
"Fortunately Santa Clara County unified has very prudent fiscal policies, and we have sufficient reserves for economic uncertainties so that were able to cover that this year," said Eric Dill, chief business official at SCUSD.
A parent at Wilcox High School had his own assessment of the new assessment.
"That money should go to the schools, to the district and the students. It should not go back to the 49ers," Thomas Tran said.
The 49ers released a statement Wednesday, saying in part: "We accept the decision of the Assessment Appeals Board, and will cooperate fully with the Assessor’s Office."
Stone said the assessment board may have been overwhelmed by the mile-high mountains of minutia in the public-private contract between the team and the city of Santa Clara.
"I just think it’s not the Niners that’s the problem here," Stone said. "It’s the assessment appeals board, which simply didn’t understand the transaction."
Stone said the county may appeal the board's ruling but isn’t committing to that until he sees exactly what the ruling was based on.