ALBANY -- The Albany City Commission tabled consideration of a move to renew the contract of the 2011 Southern Indoor Football League Champion Albany Panthers until it could more closely compare proposed contract changes.
Under the leadership of owner Rod Chappelle, General Manager Will Carter and Coach Lucious Davis, the Panthers won the 2011 SIFL championship and had hoped to repeat their season in 2012.
But after a schism in the SIFL prompted the formation of a new league, the Professional Indoor Football League, the Panthers have joined under the banner of the new league with title aspirations.
But before they can take to the field for their first home game March 7, the principals for the Panthers and the elected representatives of the city of Albany will have to reach an accord on how Carter and crew will run the Civic Center during the season.
Tuesday, the Panthers presented a proposed contract that would extend their tenure at the Civic Center.
Suzanne Davis, the city's director of Parks and Recreation and the person who oversees civic center operations, said that there are a few differences in the contract proposal as compared to the one currently on the books.
The biggest items include a request to reduce the lease the Panthers pay from $2,500 to $2,000 per game for six home games. In turn, the Panthers would agree to reduce gameday staff, such as ushers and ticket counters in a move that could save the city $4,000 to $7,000 per game, she said.
The Panthers are also asking that they be allowed to lower their insurance coverage from a $10 million policy to a $5 million policy, and that the city reduce the amount its charges per ticket in facility fees by $1.
The commission voted to table the matter until the night meeting later this month in order to give Carter, Davis, and City Attorney Nathan Davis an opportunity to give the commission a "red-line" copy of the contract that spells out the changes.
Ward V Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Bob Langstaff said his major concern stemmed from a lack of a personal guarantee or warranty bond that would hedge any liability the city faces should something happen to the league before the year is up.
"I would just feel better if there was something in place that would ensure that the taxpayers and the city was off the hook if something unforeseen were to happen...like the league fold halfway through the season or something," Langstaff said following the meeting.
Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell also had concerns about how much money the city had lost under the current contract and wanted staff to bring back a figure before the night meeting.
Davis said that the proposed contract would have no impact on the Youth Indoor Football league that the Panthers host each year.
The Panthers and the city are currently in the middle of registration for the Friday night and Saturday morning games for youth in various age categories.
So far, 80 kids have signed up to play, Davis said.
For more information on how to register, call Albany Parks and Recreation at 430-5222.