Throwing good money after bad – Convention Center headlines from cities across the country – Part 2 of 3

This is the second in a three-part series about Convention Centers and HQ Hotels. The first two entries cover the general topic of publicly subsidized Convention Centers. The third will be a specific look at what is being proposed for Palm Beach County’s Convention Center HQ Hotel to examine the ‘induced’ demand and perhaps ask some questions that we wished the County Commission had asked. What is different about Palm Beach County/West... [Read More...]

Some Background to the Mecca Farms Proposal

As the BCC considers the possible sale of the Mecca Farms property to the South Florida Water Management District, it is useful to consider the history of this site, and its relationship to the Vavrus Ranch which is just now being considered for development. (See: Blockbuster deal for Vavrus Ranch in the works) The 1919 acre Mecca Farms, initially the preferred site for the Scripps Biotech industrial park, was to be accompanied by a residential... [Read More...]

A County Funded Hotel – Who Wins?

Related Stories TAB: Our view last April Palm Beach Post Sun Sentinel WPEC Today the County Commission voted 6-1 to allocate $57M ($27M direct subsidy plus $20M loan guarantee plus $10M cost of the land) toward a 400 room hotel next to the Convention Center. The county would actually own both the land and the building. Who are the winners and losers in this “public / private partnership”? First, let’s stipulate that the convention... [Read More...]

County Adopts New Financial Standards

The county commission today discussed and approved new accounting standards for the next budget year that will adopt a more standard accounting methodology, making comparisons with peer counties possible (perhaps). For a full description, CLICK HERE. Highlights included: Adoption of GASB 54, reporting spendable fund balances in 4 categories, possibly providing more transparency. During the discussion it was stated that since Hillsborough is already... [Read More...]

Bob Weisman’s Response to TaxWatch Study

NOTE: The TaxWatch study was made available to commissioners and staff prior to their press release. This is the initial response from County Adminstrator Weisman. From: Robert Weisman Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 9:01 AM To: BCC-All Commissioners Cc: Lisa DeLaRionda; John Wilson; Audrey Wolf; Ross Hering; Robert Weisman; Brad Merriman; Denise Nieman; George Webb; Joe Bergeron F.; Jon Van Arnam; Liz Bloeser; Shannon LaRocque; Steve Bordelon;... [Read More...]

Florida TaxWatch Report on County Reserves, Debt, and Property Utilization

At the request of the Palm Beach Civic Association, the Palm Beach County Taxpayer Action Board, and the Town of Palm Beach County Budget Task Force, Florida TaxWatch conducted a study of several aspects of Palm Beach County Finances. In addition to an analysis of the county debt and reserves compared to our “peer” counties – Miami/Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange, updated from their similar 2006 report, they also investigated... [Read More...]

Palm Beach Civic Association Sponsors TaxWatch Study

The Palm Beach Civic Association, in conjunction with the Town of Palm Beach County Budget Task Force (CBTF), is engaging Florida TaxWatch to perform a study of Palm Beach County capital expenditures, debt and reserves, and inventory of underutilized land and buildings. Funded half by the Civic Association with the other half being raised by task force member Jere Zenko, the project is scheduled to start shortly and be completed in time for use... [Read More...]

SWA Board Selects Babcock and Wilcox

The Taxpayers won again – just barely. After a 9 1/2 hour marathon meeting at the Solid Waste Authority auditorium on Jog Road, the SWA board upheld their selection committee’s choice of Babcock and Wilcox to build and operate the $600M waste-to-energy plant that is the biggest taxpayer-funded project ever undertaken in the county. This was good news for the taxpayer since on the “future value” method of comparison by SWA consultant... [Read More...]

County Votes to pay 35% of cost of Convention Center Hotel

This morning, the Board of County Commissioners voted 4-2 (Marcus/Aaronson/Vana/Burdick in favor, Abrams/Taylor against, Santamaria absent) to “conceptually approve” a county subsidy of $27 Million to The Related Companies to build a 400 room Hilton next to the convention center. They also approved $200,000 from the General Fund Contingency Reserves to fund consultant and legal services to further develop the proposal. While most would... [Read More...]

Today, the Taxpayer Won

4/1/11 Update: Wheelabrator has decided to protest the bid and will be heard at the SWA Board meeting on 4/13 at 9:00. They will have 45 minutes to make their case and B&W will have an equal time to rebut. See Agenda for more information. Low-cost bidder Babcock and Wilcox recommended by committee for SWA mass burn plant. This afternoon at the Solid Waste Authority Visitor’s Center on Jog Road, the committee tasked with selecting one... [Read More...]