Public money will be used for upkeep of Bucs' luxury suites

Here’s a report that can’t sit well with Joe Fan.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, nearly half of the $7.8 million in public money that will be used for renovations at Raymond James Stadium next year will be committed to the luxury suites.

Ouch.

If nothing else, it’s a public relations hit for a franchise that had trouble last season putting fans in the regular-guy seats.

The report breaks down how the money, the majority of which is supplied via taxes on tourists, will be spent. Ice makers will cost $225,940. Carpet is running $597,200. Furnishings at a price tag of $2.3 million account for the majority of the expenses.

All money generated from the suites goes directly to the Bucs. In the agreement with the Tampa Sports Authority, the suites must be kept up. Still, some county commissioners have questions about the use of funds.

A total of more than $18.5 million will be spent on the stadium over the next two years. The priciest item is a new high definition scoreboard at a cost of $7.7 million.

Obviously, the work needs to be done to keep suites up to par. It’s part of the agreement even if it doesn’t sound good that tax bucks are funding the work.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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