The price of Mayor Meeker’s downtown Convention Center just soared again: to $215 million.
The City Council just approved spending another $23 million on the Convention Center without a blink or hardly a nay vote. In fact, every County Commissioner and every City Councilman but one – Councilman Tommy Craven – voted for the increase.
But those same County Commissioners are telling us they don’t have the money to pay for schools – so they have to pass bonds and raise taxes.
In fact, when someone suggested using part of the Meals and Hotel tax money (which the politicians use to pay for things like Convention Centers) for the schools, Commissioner Betty Lou Ward said indignantly, in effect, You can’t use that money for schools by law that money has to be spent on tourism.
Where did she find that in the Constitution?
What’s a fact is whoever passed that law (that says the Meals and Hotel Tax can only be used to pay for Convention Centers and such) can unpass it and what Ms. Ward is really saying is she’s not about to ask them to. (By the way how about using that some of that money to build for roads – don’t tourists use roads?)
Anyway, we now have a $215 million dollar Convention Center, a $20 million dollar downtown hotel, a million dollar downtown supermarket, a million dollar white tablecloth five star downtown restaurant and the Exploris Museum – all paid for or subsidized by taxpayers and no money for schools. And on top of that the word on the street is Mayor Meeker is going to ask for something like $40 – 50 million to pay for an underground parking garage to go with his Hotel and Convention Center (he’s also against spending one penny of city money to help build schools). And by the way the Airport Authority wants to tear down a nineteen year old terminal and build a new one for $500 million.
What the City Council and County Commissioners should do is take all this money and spend it on schools and put a bond on the ballot to pay for all those other things they say are needed – and see if voters agree with them.