Orange County Commissioners are meeting this week for their annual budget workshops where income from various taxes are compared to current and future expenses. While the bulk of the discussion will likely center around schools, safety, and services, the eyes of Orlando City supporters will be focused on $60M that may come up for discussions.
Two weeks ago we reported that Orange County was prepared to review Orlando City's request for Tourism Development Tax (TDT) funds, in the amount of $20M, to be used for the club's proposed stadium. Last week our friends at WFTV reported that the the stadium funds were being rolled into a $60M proposal that would provide additional funds to the Citrus Bowl renovations, the last phase of the Performing Arts Center, and tourism advertising. The catch with the proposal continues to be that Orange County controls the funding but the City of Orlando controls the venues. It is kind of like asking your neighbor to help pay for an addition to your house; they won't own or use it but it will enhance the value of the community for both of you.
TDT funds come from a 6% tax paid by tourists on all hotel, condo, and timeshare rentals in Orange County. The County's comptroller Martha Haynie stated that $72M of that $175M goes directly towards the mortgage for the Orange County Convention Center, the second largest facility of its kind in the country. So what about the remaining $100M, surely there's enough money left for the stadium project right?
To sort out exactly where the funds for Orlando City's stadium would come from we obtained a breakdown of the TDT spending for 2012. Below is how the $175M was spent over the last fiscal year:
The "City of Orlando Community Venues" amount of roughly $22M annually would likely remain the same in the budget, however the year in which that expense expires for the County would likely be extended by 2-3 years. That is where the money for Orlando City's stadium would come from along with the other projects mentioned above. The funds are there, it is just a question of whether or not County commissioners and the Tourism Development Council (TDC) will support the plan.