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Arlington seeks $2.7 million to cover Super Bowl costs

ARLINGTON -- The home of Cowboys Stadium is seeking $2.7 million from a special state fund to cover public safety, ice and snow removal, and other costs related to Super Bowl XLV, according to documents released Friday.

Nearly $1.3 million went to pay salaries and overtime for police and firefighters to secure the city's entertainment district as thousands of football fans made their way to the stadium for the Feb. 6 game.

The ice and snow that socked in North Texas that week cost the city $136,000, which was used for snow plows, ice melting and other equipment and materials at Arlington Municipal Airport and on streets and sidewalks around Cowboys Stadium.

Despite the unexpected run of ice, snow and below-freezing temperatures, the city spent $130,000 less than budgeted to handle the game, Deputy City Manager Trey Yelverton said.

"I don't think we planned for four or five days of snow and ice," said Yelverton, adding that the city made up the additional costs by saving money elsewhere.

Arlington expects to receive full reimbursement for expenses, he said.

The money will come from the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee and the Major Events Trust Fund, established by the Texas Legislature to help cities land big events such as the Super Bowl.

The state comptroller estimated in March 2010 that North Texas would see a windfall of about $31.2 million from taxes on retail sales, hotel rooms, rental cars and alcohol sales paid by out-of-state visitors. That money was set aside to be used to reimburse event-related expenses.

Fort Worth, which hosted ESPN's national broadcasts as well as the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers, will seek nearly $2.3 million from the fund, officials said. Roughly $1.8 million of that is for police and fire payroll, officials said. Dallas, which hosted the media hotel as well as NFL headquarters and the NFL Experience, is asking to be reimbursed for $64,480 more than its $3 million budget.

But the money may not come quickly. Officials in Arlington and Fort Worth said Friday that a backlog at the comptroller's office could delay their checks until early September. Yelverton said he does not expect the delay to affect the city's budget.

"Most other events are certainly much smaller than this. This is a larger event, and you've got multiple jurisdictions" seeking reimbursement, he said. "We understand that. This is not a significant challenge for us."

A call to the comptroller's office was not returned Friday afternoon.

Keith Melton, Arlington's assistant director of public works, said he originally believed that the city had overestimated how much money was needed under its worst-case winter weather scenario.

The city rented four large graders with long blades to scrape ice from roadways around the stadium. Public works crews bought snow shovels and spent hours clearing spaces such as the taxicab staging area and the wide sidewalks used by pedestrians to get to the stadium, he said. Equipment was needed to haul away the huge piles of collected snow.

The airport runway had to be cleared for private jets arriving with Super Bowl ticket-holders.

Arlington also made improvements in the entertainment district, such as upgraded crosswalks and traffic signals.

"Those clearly are legacy items that ... benefit the city and future events," Yelverton said.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639

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