Birmingham City Councilors debated about funding an annual IndyCar racing event at Barber Motorsports Park. In an evenly split vote, the funding failed.
The 4-year-deal would contribute $300,000 a year to Zoom Motorsports for the annual race.
Some Councilors say the benefit to the city does not justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. "The city is getting rope-a-doped," Councilor Roderick Royal said. While Royal and other councilors support the event, they think other municipalities should contribute some money or the city's contribution should diminish. "This is corporate welfare," Councilor Steven Hoyt said.
Other councilors say the event comes with a tremendous economic impact and international exposure. Over two years, Councilor Jay Roberson says the event contributed $80 million in economic impact for the community.
The contract stipulates Zoom will keep all the proceeds, which according to their representatives, is about $3.5 million each year.
Councilor Lashunda Scales asked about shortening the deal. Other leaders echoed her sentiment, as the financial state of the city could change. Some considered a yearly renewal might be more appropriate.
Zoom representatives present at the meeting were not available for comment.
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