Mayors Dyer and Jacobs Working out Citrus Bowl Deal
Orlando Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs say they're ready to move forward and try to work out details of a plan to fund stadium renovations.
The Mayors shook hands at a meeting Wednesday morning.
Saying they wanted to "clear the air", they noted they have been able to work together well for the benefit of the region in spite of differences.
Mayor Jacobs is worried about helping pay the 175 million dollar renovation cost for the stadium if it means taking away money from other projects- like the County Convention Center.
Speaking with Mayor Dyer she said the county will consider helping service the city’s debt to fund the renovation.
“If they’re able to handle the debt, that’s very good news," said Jacobs.
"But we do have to define what is the risk to Orange County. There’s some amount of money, ten million we can handle. But again, not ten million a year," she said.
Mayor Dyer said the two local governments were now at a "good starting point."
"Now it’s time for staff to do some work for a couple of weeks and find a time to come back and finalize a deal," he said.
Mayor Jacobs said her biggest fear is over a potential decline of tourist development tax dollars which are pegged for helping to fund projects like the citrus bowl renovations. She worries the money could be reduced due to a court case involving online travel companies like Expedia, and that could affect the county's ability to pay for upkeep of the Convention Center.
"I know when you compare the two, the Citrus Bowl needs maintenance more than the convention center if you look at the two facilities," she said.
"But when you look at the economic impact and the risk to the convention center, and the TDT funding which is so critical to funding the venues as well as our tourism industry as a whole, I have to protect that."
Mayor Dyer said getting the Citrus bowl renovations started as soon as possible is important for the economic health of the region.
"We've lost out on neutral site games, exhibition games, and it's time that we come together and figure out how to get this done."
Dyer said he wants a plan in place to start renovations by January 2014.