The financing proposal for the FSU stadium is put to a vote; Rick Minor will vote to cancel


Update at 2 p.m .: In an email to voters, Leon County Commissioner Rick Minor announced Thursday that he would vote to cancel the $ 20 million allocation to the FSU and Doak Campbell Stadium.

“The citizens of Leon County have spoken loud and clear, and I have heard them. At today’s Master Plan meeting, I will be voting to cancel the $ 20 million that has been allocated to repairs to the Doak’s infrastructure, “he wrote.

“The State of Florida is certainly a vital partner of this community, and its future success is closely tied to ours. However, residents have made it clear that they want to see these limited economic development funds invested in other ways.

Rick Minor

“In our community, citizens CAN make a difference by talking to their elected officials, and this is a good example. I want to thank everyone who took the time to reach out and make their voices heard on this issue. It matters. “

The original story

One of the most controversial questions to come to Blueprint’s board of directors in recent years – whether to spend more than $ 20 million on Doak Campbell stadium repairs – is on another vote key today.

City and county commissioners, who make up the board, will vote on whether or not to approve nearly $ 116 million in bonds to advance funding for stadium improvements, along with eight other projects . The board approved $ 20 million for repairs at its September 27 meeting.

Florida State University officials, who asked for the money, said it was needed for “structural and safety improvements” at the 71-year-old facility. Seminole Boosters have pledged to raise an additional $ 100 million for seating and other upgrades designed to bring “an improved fan and game experience” to home football matches.

Florida State fans applaud the Seminoles as they take out the Louisville Cardinals at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

But critics – including the NAACP and concerned citizens who complained loudly at town halls – say spending sales tax money on stadium repairs is an inappropriate use of Blueprint money and that the he university can afford the stadium repairs itself.

They also argue that it will harness Blueprint’s ability to float more bonds during the term of the tax, which runs until 2040, and leave little or no money for the Office of Economic Vitality to pay for the tax. vocational training, assistance to small businesses and other economic developments. efforts.

“If another project came up that would bring more benefits to the community, especially minority businesses and the minority community, there will be no way to fund this project,” wrote Mutaqee Akbar, chairman of the Local NAACP, in a column published Wednesday. in the democrat.

Point:Blueprint has several options for funding the Doak Campbell Stadium. The best is to say “no” | Opinion

Counterpoint:All Supporters of FSU Should Be Affected by Blueprint Doak Investment Attack | David Coburn

However, Ben Pingree, director of planning, land management and community improvement who manages Blueprint, said that even with the stadium funding, OEV will have at least $ 700,000 in its budget. economic development.

He also said Blueprint, funded by a voter-approved sales tax, would get about $ 13 million more for economic development, although the money won’t start coming in until 2028.

“We have taken the approach to take advantage of the excellent bond rates and to move forward and seize as many project opportunities as possible as early as possible for our community,” said Pingree. “It’s a smart approach to stimulate the economy, improve the environment and improve the quality of life in our community as quickly as it makes sense. “

The board of directors of Blueprint, known as the Intergovernmental Agency, voted 8-4 on September 27 in favor of funding the stadium, which would cost a total of $ 26.45 million with debt service taken into account. City Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter and County Commissioners Kristin Dozier and Brian Welch voted no.

A crew paints the Bobby Bowden pitch at Doak Campbell Stadium on Monday, December 2, 2019.

Following:Blueprint agency commits $ 20 million to fund FSU stadium repairs in Tallahassee

It is possible, if not likely, that someone on the losing side will come out to overturn that vote or request a delay in approving stadium funding, which opponents are looking for. Late last month Dozier wrote to Blueprint attorney Susan Dawson asking what parliamentary procedure would be required to change the September 27 vote.

Dawson responded by advising that any member of Blueprint’s board of directors could bring a motion to rescind or change the previous vote.

“However, without notice of the motion, a majority vote of all board members is required, which means all board members must be present,” Dawson said.

The current 1% sales tax was approved by voters in 2014, although collections did not begin until 2020. The initiative, traditionally used for roads, stormwater and other projects in infrastructure, included for the first time an economic development fund using 12% of sales. tax proceeds.

Dozier said the creation of the fund was a “major step” for the community and that wiping it out until 2028 with the stadium project is “a bad decision.” She said this would only create a fraction of the jobs generated by much smaller investments in Danfoss Turbocor and Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Related:

“It is clear that funding Doak is not the right choice for our community,” Dozier said in an email, “and that is why there is overwhelming opposition to this move.”

In other developments, FSU athletic director David Coburn wrote a letter on Monday defending the financial demand, noting that Blueprint had spent $ 10 million on upgrades to Bragg Stadium at Florida A&M University and 1 million additional dollars for the baseball facilities at Tallahassee Community College.

“The investment in FSU, however, is under attack,” Coburn wrote. “The amount of disinformation being spread is alarming, and all who support FSU should be concerned.”

The board of directors meets at 3 p.m. in the chambers of the municipal commission.

Contact Jeff Burlew at [email protected] or follow @JeffBurlew on Twitter.

Never miss a story: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat using the link at the top of the page.


Comments are closed.