(West Palm Beach, FL) – Late Wednesday, the final details were hammered out in an agreement that would clear the way for a new convention center hotel in West Palm Beach.
While the deal makes the hotel property exempt from paying county, city and all other taxes, the deal does require the developer of the project to pay the City of West Palm Beach each year an amount of money equivalent to what the City would have received had the hotel project been taxable.
Originally when a plan, drafted by the developer and the County without input from the City of West Palm Beach was unveiled in August, it did not include any payments or taxes going to the City of West Palm Beach. City officials said at the time this was a violation of a 2005 legal agreement between the three parties that required the City receive revenue from the property.
For the past three months, West Palm Beach officials have been working with the developer to restructure the agreement to ensure the City receives what it was entitled to under the 2005 agreement.
“We had two very clear goals and responsibilities while working on this,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “Obviously everyone wanted the hotel project to move forward, but we had a duty to make sure it was not pushed forward at the expense of our residents. Tax revenue is what pays for more police on our streets, more books in our library, and new playground equipment in our parks. The 2005 agreement required we receive revenue from this project, and it was our responsibility to make sure that happened.”
The exact amount of the annual payments to the City will fluctuate based on the current value of the hotel, but will be comparable to what the City would have received had the hotel remained on the tax rolls.
The deal will be presented to the West Palm Beach City Commission for approval on October 29th. It then will go to the Palm Beach County Commission for consideration.