Mayor Stewart wants team to pay up

New Britain mayor Erin Stewart.


NEW BRITAIN and HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The bad feelings between the City of New Britain and the minor league baseball team that left for Hartford are getting worse.

The Mayor of New Britain successfully lured another team to the ‘Hardware City,’ but wants to make sure the old team, now known as the ‘Hartford Yard Goats’ remembers to pay its left over bills.

For the years that the “Colorado Rockies” farm team was in New Britain, the city picked up the tab for utilities all season then submitted a bill for the full amount at the end of the year to the team. But because of all the problems with the team’s new home, the Mayor of New Britain is worried about getting paid.

Construction is going on day and night to rush to the new target opening date of May 17th at the “Yard Goats/Dunkin Donuts” stadium in Hartford. That’s six full weeks after the start of the minor league baseball season. The team is now also on the hook for a big part of the cost over-runs.

Formerly known as the New Britain “Rock Cats,” they’ve also been served notice by their former landlord, the City of New Britain, that they still must pay a $150,000 utility bill for last season.

“Given a lot of the situation that’s happening right now with their new home in Hartford, we’re just worried that we’re not going to get the payment for the bill,” says Mayor Erin Stewart (R-New Britain).

Yard Goats team Manager Tim Restall says he’s surprised by the concern at New Britain City Hall, “We take great concern that the team is in question for it’s obligations that (we) have not fulfilled them.”

Restall noted that the bill was just received this week and is clearly dated Monday, January 25th and that according to the team’s lease with the City of New Britain they have three months to pay, “We have 120 days, which we’ve always had and we will continue to pay the bill at the end.”

“It’s been no secret that they haven’t really paid us in a timely fashion and their track record is not really promising,” said Mayor Stewart.

She also says that the team has frequently requested extensions and partial payment options until the season gets underway and cash flow improves.

She says $150,000 is a lot of money to a city like New Britain, equating it to two teacher salaries for an entire year. And that given the cost over run issues with the new ballpark in Hartford, she says she wants to be sure New Britain gets paid on time.

Mayor Stewart also notes that in August 2014, the city had to go after the team for not paying a large “Property Tax” payment, which they eventually paid, but late.

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