One struggling city is willing to go to extreme lengths to keep its hockey team.
The Glendale, Ariz., city council is even considering offering up its city hall and main police station -- a $41 million value -- as one possible solution to pay off the city's heaping sports-related debt, according to the Arizona Republic News (Hat tip: ThinkProgress.)
At the center of the debate is suburban Glendale's hockey team, the Phoenix Coyotes. The city has paid the NHL $25 million per season to manage the team since 2009, when the league took it over after previous owner Jerry Moyes was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Now, Glendale is facing a $35 million budget shortfall, thanks in part to the Coyotes and debt stemming from construction of a spring training baseball stadium. The city cut 49 public employees in May, the Arizona Republic News reported, and proposed a 0.7 percent sales tax hike to help offset costs.
Glendale could choose to abandon the Coyotes or try to sell the team off to another city, but a sale could cost the town even further. So despite the costs incurred so far to keep the team, some city council members think it's worth sticking with the franchise. A deal is currently on the table to reduce the city's costs to $15 million annually by offering private ownership of the team to ex-San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.
But while several city council members claim keeping the Coyotes in Glendale is the best financial decision in the long run, local residents are beginning to fight back. Petitions to support referendums on the sales tax hike and the deal with Jamison are already circulating among residents, AZ Central reports.
"We can't afford the lease the way they've got it," local resident Ken Jones told AZ Central.
Just as Glendale isn't the only struggling municipality, the Phoenix Coyotes aren’t the only NHL team currently facing financial trouble. Just last week, the NHL denied claims it would be buying the New Jersey Devils, a team in dire financial straights and $77 million in debt. While NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly doubted the team would have to declare bankruptcy, as the Coyotes did in 2009, the Devils may be unable to sign several of the team's unrestricted free agents, according to USA Today.
Check out some other unexpected ways cities and towns across America have trimmed budgets and cut costs:
Utilities Shut Off Over Unpaid Traffic Fines
Faced with a declining budget, the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico told residents that unless they settled outstanding traffic fines their gas, water and sewage utilities would be turned off.
Swimming Pools Closed
In 2011, cities around the country <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/31/city-budget-cuts-summer_n_869202.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">suspended summer activities for kids</a> including closing public swimming pools and eliminating library reading programs.
Circumcision Funding Cut
Due to cash-strapped hospital budgets, the state of Colorado in 2011 decided to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/24/circumcision-budget_n_883743.html" target="_hplink">no longer fund circumcision</a>. The measure will save an estimated $186,500 annually.
Dark Fourth Of July Skies
City budgets were stretched so thin in 2011 that many towns could <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/03/fireworks-budget-cuts-american-fourth-of-july_n_888845.html" target="_hplink">no longer afford to pay for July Fourth fireworks displays</a>. However, some towns came up with alternative ways to fund the traditional displays.
Volunteer Prison Chaplains
The state of North Carolina was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/08/prison-chaplains-budget-cuts_n_921605.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">forced to rely on volunteers to provide religious services to inmates</a> after laying off prison chaplains.
Teachers Take Extra Time Off
In Seattle, teachers agreed to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/10/seattle-teachers-take-fir_n_923790.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">take an extra day and a half off</a> to ease budget concerns in 2011.
Arizona State Capitol Sold
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/12/jan-brewer-arizona-democrats-capitol-complex_n_1202636.html" target="_hplink">Arizona Governor Jan Brewer sold the state capitol in 2009</a> to bring in some extra cash. In January 2012, she announced plans to buy the complex back.
Marching Band Uniforms Go Casual
The high school marching band in North Bend, Oregon changed its uniforms to T-Shirts, jeans and knit caps <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/north-bend-high-school-ba_n_1023851.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">after the school couldn't afford to replace the more formal ensembles</a>.
Police Stop Responding To 911 Calls
In Smithfield, North Carolina the chief of police told residents that unless he was allowed to spend $30,000 that was originally meant for office supplies on gas money, the town's police force would no longer be able to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/smithfield-north-carolina-police-gas-money_n_1069470.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">respond to some 911 calls</a>.
Tearing Up Streetlamps
In 2011, Highland Park, Michigan announced it would be <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/highland-park-sreetlights_n_1079909.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">removing streetlights to help save on energy costs</a>.
Homeless Lose Access To Restrooms
In Sacramento, California a $200 million deficit led the city to install locks on public bathrooms <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/sacramento-united-nations-warning-homeless_n_1268946.html?ref=budget-cuts" target="_hplink">cutting homeless people's access to water and restrooms overnight</a>.
Baltimore Sells Historic Buildings
Due to a $48 million budget gap, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/baltimore-historic-landmarks-revenue_n_1389222.html?ref=business" target="_hplink">Baltimore government announced plans to sell historic buildings</a> including the home of a 19th century U.S. Senator.