As football fans work their way toward Super Bowl XLV, Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth are budgeting millions of dollars to stage the game at Cowboys Stadium.
But the timing couldn't be worse, as cities struggle to cut services, lay off workers and raise property taxes.
The cities maintain they will receive priceless exposure from the Super Bowl spotlight, and leaders are confident the outlay for security and services be repaid with increased tax revenues.
That's why they're budgeting millions to stage the game and all that comes with it.
Fort Worth plans to spend the most $4.5 million even though the game itself is at Cowboys Stadium in neighboring Arlington, which has allocated about $2 million.
Dallas has $3 million in Super Bowl expenses. The cities are paying for police, fire, sanitation, overtime and other city services.
But critics wonder if this is the right message to send as cities face financial crises. Budget deficits have triggered employee furloughs, layoffs, and even a possible property tax increase in Dallas.
This is just going to benefit Jerry Jones. He's having a party and you and I get to pay for it. I can't believe it, said Dallas City Hall critic Sharon Boyd. We may get some money back, but we're not going to get dollar-for-dollar. We're going to lose money on this.
News 8 has reported on how questionable the economic impacts really are for large sporting events like the Super Bowl, rarely adding up to the promises of promoters.
Some restaurants will make money. Some hotels will make money. But I don't think I should have to subsidize them, Boyd said.
Critics cross their fingers that North Texas taxpayers aren't stuck with the bill after the party's over.