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Glendale, Arizona, Home Of Phoenix Coyotes, Considers Using City Hall, Police Station As Debt Collateral

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The Phoenix Coyotes play hockey in Glendale, Ariz., but the city is struggling with debt accrued on the team's behalf.
The Phoenix Coyotes play hockey in Glendale, Ariz., but the city is struggling with debt accrued on the team's behalf.

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:

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