West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio calls the hotel deal a win-win for the City, the County and the overall economy.
Watch Mayor Jeri Muoio’s news conference here:
(West Palm Beach, FL) – By a unanimous vote tonight, the City of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved an agreement that clears the way for the construction of a long awaited convention center hotel in West Palm Beach.
The agreement requires the hotel, which will be exempt from paying property taxes, to pay the City of West Palm Beach CRA the amount of money the CRA would have received if the hotel was taxable.
Originally the agreement negotiated by Palm Beach County and the developer over the past 18 months called for the convention center hotel to be exempt from paying property taxes to the City of West Palm Beach.
When the City of West Palm Beach became aware of the terms of that deal in August, the City raised a concern that the deal violated a 2005 legal agreement requiring the hotel property to remain on the tax rolls. The 2005 Settlement Agreement mandated the property remain taxable. Tax revenues are what fuels the growth and expansion of cities.
The final terms of the deal approved by the CRA requires the hotel to pay the City of West Palm Beach CRA the amount of money it would have paid if the property was taxable. The hotel will remain exempt from property taxes.
“This agreement is a win-win. It requires the hotel to pay the CRA what the 2005 Settlement Agreement required. Even though the hotel will still be exempt from paying taxes, it will pay and we will receive the amount we would have received under the 2005 agreement,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “This was a critical point for us, and one we had an absolute obligation to our residents to uphold.”
As part of the agreement, the hotel will receive a rebate of a portion of its payment in order to make it easier for the hotel to succeed. The rebate is for a defined period of time and once it expires, 100% of the payment by the hotel will be retained by the City of West Palm Beach.
The agreement now goes before the Palm Beach County Commission for consideration.