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Multi-Purpose Event Center, Boon or Boondoggle
Posted By Charles Cook On Thursday, August 10, 2006 @ 9:53 pm In Opinion,Politics | 3 Comments
As you may know the Economic Development Council (EDC) is trying to convince the County and City taxpayers to fund a Multi-Purpose Event Center. Visit the website  to view the presentation and maybe even take the time to participate in their survey. Mr. James Chavez, president of the EDC, has been the front man on this project and has given numerous presentations throughout the City and County. One such presentation was at a town hall meeting sponsored by Councilman Ken Takasaki.
A number of City Council members both past and present and a few County Commissioners were present at the meeting. Mr. Chavez was asked some very specific questions concerning the profitability of an event center, who must pay the mortgage, how much annual revenue will the MPEC generate, what will be the debt service, who pays the debt service if the MPEC operates at a loss, how did the EDC calculate the debt service, etc. Many of us left that meeting that night without answers. Mr. Chavez promised Councilman Takasaki that he would supply those answers in a few days. That meeting was over two months ago. Mr. Chavez still has not provided the answers.
An article in The Leaf-Chronicle, Sports authority moves forward, Tuesday, June 13, 2006, stated, “City and county governments would be asked to approve $45 million in revenue bonds to finance the project. The bonds would be retired with sales taxes generated by the center and an associated entertainment district of restaurants, hotels and retail shops.” In taxpayer language that means that if the additional entertainment sales taxes are not as projected, the county and city taxpayer will pick up the tab. Remember, the Convention Center wasn’t going to be a tax either!
This private company, Global Entertainment Corporation, wants the city and county taxpayers to pay them to build and operate the MPEC. If it were such a great business opportunity wouldn’t they want to finance the whole operation? Well, the answer is no because even Mr. Chavez of the EDC has told us that the MPEC will never operate at a profit. They expect the “entertainment district” to generate enough taxes to pay for the MPEC. However, remember if the entertainment taxes fall below projections, the city and county taxpayers foot the bill. By the way, Mr. Chavez expects the city and county to form a “sports authority” that would oversee the construction of the MPEC. Can we all say together, airport authority? Maybe the “sports authority” can buy a trailer park to supplement the MPEC.
Oh, and one last item, you won’t get to vote on this project because there probably won’t be a referendum on the MPEC like there was on the conference center. Boon or Boondoggle?
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