The $168 million now earmarked for the project makes it the single largest public improvement project in Pasadena history, a city spokesman said.
Councilman Steve Madison on Monday called for an independent audit to restore public confidence in the city’s fiscal oversight.
“It is disconcerting that we have a project with cost overruns as significant as this,” Madison said. “We owe it to the community.”
But Councilman Victor Gordo, who heads the Rose Bowl’s council-appointed governing board, said the refinancing plan ensures spending for stadium renovations will not affect the city’s operating budget.
“It’s not a matter of the project being improperly managed, it’s a matter of the original estimates being off,” Gordo said. “We’re getting what we paid for and keeping our pledge to pay for the project with Rose Bowl dollars, not the city’s General Fund.”
The latest move is intended to provide the city-owned stadium with enough money to pay for work scheduled through the end of the year.
As part of the new funding package, the city will refinance $26.8 million in bond debt left over from 2006 upgrades to locker rooms and media areas that predate the current renovation project.
The 2006 bond amount was originally $43 million and would have been paid off by 2023.
With refinancing and the additional $30 million in borrowing, the new bond package will total $55 million to be paid off by 2043, said City Treasurer Andrew Green.
Green said favorable lending conditions and the extended borrowing term will also allow the stadium to reduce its annual bond payments from $3.1 million to $2.58 million.
The $55-million value of the new bond package is lower than the $58-million debt load that was previously anticipated because the bondholder, Union Bank, has agreed to apply security deposits as payments, Green said.
Council members said the refinancing plan and tightening the project’s scope should help renew public confidence that officials now have a handle on renovation costs.
“This has been a moving target. We didn’t seem to be able to get ahead of the curve here … [but ] I think the projections being made now are much more realistic and conservative,” said Councilman Terry Tornek, who had previously opposed increases for Rose Bowl renovation funding.
-- Joe Piasecki, Times Community News
Follow Joe Piasecki on Twitter: @joepiasecki