Convention Hotel Giveaway

Open letter to County Executive Joanie Mahoney. (Post-Standard letter to the Editor.)

May 28, 2008

To the Editor:

An open letter to county executive Joanne Mahoney. Dear Mrs. Mahoney, I applaud you for your initiative to help get the convention hotel financing on track with the offer to invest $10 million in county funds and make the county a privileged investor in the venture.

But, perhaps, a better deal could be offered to local tax payers. Right now, the private developer will invest only $10 million of it's own money on the project. It will receive from the county (at last count): $10.5 million in infrastructure upgrades; $24 million in municipal bonds plus interest, to be repaid not by the developer but by hotel room and sales tax revenue; a 25 year property tax exemption; and free prime downtown land to build on.

So, really, taxpayers will contribute well over $44.5 million to the project; and the city, county, and schools will forgo roughly $50 million in property taxes over the next 25 years.

Now, if the county could see it's way to finance an additional $10 million (the developer's bit), it could build the hotel itself. And why not? After all, that's what it did with the convention center. It can always sell the the hotel in a few years, as an ongoing concern, at a nice profit for taxpayers, with the property back on the tax rolls.

Sincerely yours,
Carlo Moneti