Crafton re-files Music City Center resolution

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 12:41pm

District 22 Councilman Eric Crafton has re-filed his memorializing resolution stating Council’s desire that the proposed Music City Center be built without the use of property tax dollars.

Crafton had filed the resolution earlier this year, but it was withdrawn at a meeting last month when he was not in attendance. The move to withdraw was made by District 9 Councilman Jim Forkum, who said the bill had been deferred too many times because of Crafton’s routine absence from committee meetings.

“I’m going to re-file it and we’re going to discuss this because we need to have this debate,” Crafton said after his resolution was killed.

Crafton’s nonbinding resolution, which Finance Director Richard Riebeling called unnecessary, would state that Council would support the estimated $635 million Music City Center provided no property tax dollars are at risk.

As part of state legislation to create a new Convention Center Authority, Metro filed an amendment explicitly stating no property taxes would be used to finance the convention center.

However, Crafton feels property taxes are still at risk of being raised as an indirect result of Music City Center. Currently Metro uses $14 million worth of hotel/motel tax revenues to fund items like the Sommet Center subsidy for the Nashville Predators, the Farmer’s Market and the Arts Commission. Those funds go to pay back the debt on Music City Center once financing is approved.

Crafton said there’s no way to replace those funds, or pay for the operating of Music City Center, without raising taxes. Convention Centers typically operate with an annual deficit, although an initial projection from Johnson Consulting showed Music City Center would not have an annual deficit because the attached parking garage would be a money-maker.

Metro created a series of tourism and hotel/motel taxes in order to finance the Music City Center, but a formal package has not been presented to Metro Council yet.

A bill on second reading to authorize the Metro Development and Housing Agency to acquire land in the SoBro area where the Music City Center would be built is on second reading on the May 19 Council agenda.

21 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 5/14/09 at 11:38

If the center is a guaranteed winner than proponents should not be afraid of foreclosure. A true revenue bonded project can be foreclosed on.

A facility does not pay for itself while using taxes from other unrelated sources

A facility does not pay for itself by taking money from other unrelated sources that are currently being used by other facilities also unrelated to the funding source.

A person who says that a center will pay for or has paid for itself without meeting the above is lying to you and is trying to steal that money.

A facility can truly say it pays for itself when its operational revenue pays for its own operational expenses as well as its own capital . Every publicly built convention facility has failed to "pay for itself".

An evil facility is one that takes government money while that government (of the people) is not capable of fully fulfilling its actual duties of service to its citizens. Particular when that center does not serve any citizens. Right now education is failing, healthcare is failing, stormwater ruins homes and runs untreated to the rivers, and infrastructure is crumbling. Yet the convention center marches along fully funded by elected officials.

By: Time for Truth on 5/14/09 at 12:09

The old bait and switch: Bait: 'Oh, those aren't taxpayer funds, the tourists pay them' (and anyone who lives here and uses hotels and rental vehicles). Switch: 'Gee, for some unknown reason, RTA, Discovery Science Center, Hall of Fame....are out of money. We need to raise taxes!'

Sink the albatross before the albatross sinks us. I think Crafton should try to get this on a referendum. Memorializing resolutions are just more grandstanding. If he works as hard on this as he did on getting that EO nonsense on the ballot, we'll get to vote on this turkey.

By: pandabear on 5/14/09 at 12:17

Go Crafton !

These guys won't commit to "no property taxes" because they're smart
enough to know the center won't be profitable, but politically greedy
enough to ...what ???

-please Karl Deano ?

I think the " what ? " is about money in some hidden fashion which we,
the taxpayer, will find out about until 1 hour after it's too late to change it.

Nationally, convention center's have been losing money for the last 10 years.
We can not make a profit with a convention center.
These "council" idiots couldn't run a kool aid stand, but they want
to spend OUR money without accountability and without our vote.

Once again Deano and his crew keep this close to the vest so Deano
can get what he wants without having to ask permission.

By: pandabear on 5/14/09 at 12:21

Time for Truth :
You think English Only isn't connected to the convention center ?!?

Where do you think they expect to get the labor from ?

A union ? "High priced" local workers ?

I think the dawn is slowly rising on the deep schemes of Karl Dean.

By: JeffF on 5/14/09 at 1:53

Funny you mention jobs, the Washington State legislature approved funding for the beginning stages of another large expansion to the Seattle (Washington State) center only if the proponents would certify with a union that the promised jobs would be guaranteed and they they would pay a living wage and have benefits. The convention industry there has asked the governor to veto their own funding in order to keep from being held to the onerous standard of livable jobs. The elected officials quit believing the outlandish claims of the convention center consultants. The same ones who are promising 36,000 new jobs with our own new center.

By: producer2 on 5/14/09 at 4:40

3 of you on here today. Do we have a quorum?

By: idgaf on 5/15/09 at 3:20

This makes no sense at all in this economy. Crafton should restrict the funding to revenue bonds. If this iss going to be a "money maker" why isn't there a line of private money to build it?

By: Kosh III on 5/15/09 at 6:35

Jeff is right. This will be built with cheap, unskilled illegal alien laborers. American workers need not apply.

By: JeffF on 5/15/09 at 7:34

Got a list of those 36,000 new jobs Producer?

By: producer2 on 5/15/09 at 8:29

I have no idea how many people it would take to build the new center and what roles each play, do you? The mere fact that posters are making comments about illegal aliens, etc. being the only ones who will get jobs within an article about Eric Crafton tells me all I need to know about the thought process of many on this board.

JeffF, How did that can't possibly pass vote in Dallas go for you last week? Guess people really do believe that this industry is viable and does make a difference. Just ask the legislator in Washington who had to borrow an additional 62 million from the tourism fund this past year just to balance their budget. It is the second year in a row that tourism bailed them out. I guess maybe they have a right to want fair, balanced labor wages. Go ask Gaylord about the reason they are not building in San Diego or about their cost overruns in their newest property in Maryland. You will find that Union labor was this issue on both counts so don't try and make this about unliveable wages, that is BS!

By: pandabear on 5/15/09 at 9:14

You're the only BS on this site.

Glad to see it too. It shows we're on track and hittin' nerves.

Go ahead. Talky talky all you wanty.
Say hi to Deano for us.

By: govskeptic on 5/15/09 at 9:15

The mayor and downtown alliance already have the votes they need to pass the bond issue the way they wish, as well as the purchasing of the property. The majority of those council members that do oppose this are too timid to say anything. They sit on their duffs and say nothing or pose some silly off the wall questions amounting to $50.00 on a billion dollar project. So typical. I so regret voting for term limits.

By: pandabear on 5/15/09 at 9:26

That's right.
They'll never let the people vote on it 'cause they
know we'd throw it right back in their faces.

Maybe Crafton can push a vote on this like he did on English Only.

Nationwide, convention centers are a losing industry.
Only Deano and clowns like this producer2 guy, who stand to make
some green in one way or another, want this thing.

Crafton wants to have it be self sustaining, whereas the others don't.

I'm with Eric. He's in the construction game and could easily turn
to the "dark side" and pick up a lot of money if he'd just "play the game",
but he doesn't do that. Instead he fights it.

Eric wants us to have the vote and Deano doesn't.

By: producer2 on 5/15/09 at 10:02

Same people different day. Pandabear, how did that English only vote go? Ask JeffF how his Dallas vote (by the citizens of Dallas) went. If only you were all as much in the majority as you think you are.

By: JeffF on 5/15/09 at 10:08

Washington did not borrow from the tourism industry, they simply decided to use the tax money for governmental purposes that tourism felt that they owned. Something Nashville should be doing.

Dallas killed the anti hotel referendum by a vote of 49.5% to 50.1%, a margin of a few hundred votes. Meanwhile they still cannot build the hotel because no one will purchase the bonds for an affordable rate. The mayor that was trying to rush through the hotel may have to wait a few years to get someone to loan them the money. The market views convention centers and hotels as risky propositions based on the abysmal failure the last decade.

Hey if everyone was paid a living wage the tourism industry would not be able to hire anyone. They do have the lowest wages and lowest benefits among all industries.

By: Anna3 on 5/15/09 at 10:17

I understand Crafton filed a bill today that would require all expenditures for the Center to be put online by Dean's Administration. Crafton is going to SEE how committed the Mayor TRULY is to transparency. ANY Councilperson voting against this has already been bought off! Let's see what very LAME excuse the Nashville Chamber will have for opposing transparency. This thing is ROTTEN to its core and is stinking up the town with its lies and deceptions. If the economy had not hit the skids...Dean would have railroaded this thru already. Its time for Dean to go...and If Mr. Crafton is reading this...Please consider a run for Mayor!

By: Time for Truth on 5/15/09 at 10:40

Eric, she's kidding--please DON'T run for mayor.

Seriously though, if Mr. Crafton is serious he needs to get to work and get a referendum on the ballot before it's too late. He can Memorialize (and then miss the meetings) all he wants to and nothing will happen other than he gets his name in the paper. Which sadly may be his true goal..

English Only was a bad joke but it showed that Crafton can get his own way (at least until the voters get involved) when he gets to work. I'd like to see that kind of effort from SOMEBODY on Council for a referendum before this 'Billion Dollar Blunder' is too far along. That day may be May 19th, someone needs to defer the aquisition bill as a start. Plenty of grounds for doing so as the smoke and mirrors gang juggles or hides the facts.

prod, there you go playing the race card again. This is an economic issue for me. Yes, I do have a problem with potentially undocumented non-citizens comprising the construction labor and staffing because this is a public project that from start to finish will do ZERO for the public good and the taxpayers. That doesn't even remotely make me a racist. So let's vote on this. I may be wrong but I think the electorate can see through Mr. Dean and your booster club. At least let's find out.

By: JeffF on 5/15/09 at 11:19

The Washington state folks were asking for transparency as well. The convention folks took their ball and when home in a huff. The last thing you will see will be a listing of all payments made for this center. This was the purpose of having MDHA involved, they are not required to be as open as Metro government is. Personally I would like to see the itemized pay requests from the PR firm McNeely, Piggott & Fox. Yes that is tax money going to pay for the lobbying for even more tax money. Yes they are the ones who formulated the game plan that keeps all the details from leaking out. Yes that is line items for "social media" on those bills where their staff is paid to pose as supportive citizens on these sites and in the meeting rooms with council.

By: pandabear on 5/15/09 at 1:13

producer2 is a "slight of hander" like Deano.

Get'em talking about "this" so the get off the subject about "that".

Eric. Get this on the ballot. Not on a "special ballot" like English Only,
which was more Deano and Sue Cain tricks.

Get it on the ballot so we can kill this bad idea for good !

By: pandabear on 5/15/09 at 1:16

I think Time for Truth secretly does want you to run for major but is a little shy ...

By: producer2 on 5/15/09 at 8:25

more conspiracy theories from JeffF. You should really write a book, fiction is your forte!