The city was planning to evict the Rock Cats on
"I wanted to make sure I was protecting our taxpayers and our relationship with our neighboring town," she said.
"It was never our intention to have New Britain pay the bill," Solomon said by phone Wednesday afternoon.
Berlin's tax assessment on the ballpark is unfairly high, Solomon said, and the team will continue a court challenge aimed at sharply reducing it.
The Rock Cats stunned New Britain in early June by announcing they'd been negotiating in secret with Hartford and had reached a deal to move to a new downtown ballpark there in the 2016 season. At the time, Stewart complained that Solomon had never talked with her, and that his management staff had assured her all along that rumors the team was looking elsewhere were false.
Relations deteriorated from there. The city said it sent multiple notices to the Rock Cats in July to advise that property taxes on the ballpark had to be paid to the town of Berlin by
Attorneys for the Rock Cats were scheduled to seek an injunction Thursday in
The Rock Cats' lease with New Britain requires the team to keep its tax bill with Berlin current. For all of the Rock Cats' previous years at the ballpark, the payment was frozen at
But when that deal expired, Berlin used a new assessment to set the taxes at more than
New Britain went to court earlier this year to reduce that figure, and settled with Berlin on a figure of
The new tax bill represents "an approximate 1,000 percent increase over what the team had previously paid each year" and is "an especially undue burden on the taxpayers of
"We will continue to pursue the appropriate steps necessary to appeal and reverse this unfair decision," he said.
The Rock Cats are pursuing a motion in
Solomon said Wednesday that the Rock Cats plan to play 2015 in
In early June, news of the Rock Cats' departure plans for 2016 stunned city residents. Many became angry at the team, but others began a social medial campaign to persuade Solomon to change his mind. After a strong start, that effort has largely faltered.
Stewart had been a early promoter of the "Keep The Cats" petition and social media campaign, giving the message a large section of the mayor's office's page on the city website. But in recent weeks, the feature is absent. And interest in the online petition at change.org appears to have peaked long ago. The website announced the 750-signature mark on
The Rock Cats are a AA-level affiliate of the
Stewart's administration is still looking to recruit other teams to play at
"New Britain is a baseball town," she said.
"We didn't talk about 2016," Stewart said of her meeting with Solomon. "I just happy we got our money back."
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