Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kill the Deal!

Erick and I seldom agree, but we agree about this. At the League of Women Voters luncheon today, Councilwoman Nancy White, fielded numerous questions about the infamous hotel deal. According to White both she and Miriam Paris talked to 100's of voters during their recent campaigns and without exception none of these Ward 4 or 5 residents were in favor of the current deal locating the hotel on the property with the Centraplex. Everyone wanted it across the street.

In addition, City Council received a letter from Billy Pitts, Chamber President, and Chip Cherry, Chamber Executive Director, stating that the current proposal places the City of Macon and the citizens of Macon at considerable risk if the lodging tax revenue projections are not accurate. According to White, they recommended that the negotiated agreement places all the liability on the selected developer, that the bondholder agreement be drafted so to protect the City from any financial liability for the life of the bonds, that it is not in the best interest of the community for the City to hold and pay the debt service on a facility that is owned by a private entity, and that a combination of reinvesting the tax revenues from the improvements to the property and a majority of the lodging revenue from the project, back into the hotel is needed to make the project viable.

Despite the efforts of 5 City Council members, White, Paris, Mike Cranford, Ed De Fore and Charles Jones, the hotel deal stands poised to go forward. However, you can help kill the deal by urging your County Commissioners and School Board members to not approve the funding. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between City Council and Noble expires on January 23, 2007. If either the County Commission or the School Board fails to approve the funding laid out in the MOU by that date, the MOU will simply expire and the deal will be off. The City would then have the opportunity to negotiate a deal that is more in line with the needs and wants of the community.

In case your not sure who to call, the members of the Bibb County Board of Commissioners are Charlie Bishop, Chairman, Joe Allen, Bert Bivens, Sam Hart and Elmo Richardson. Their contact information can be found here. The members of the Bibb County School Board are Lynn Farmer, President, Albert Abrams, Tommy Barnes, Gary Bechtel, Tom Hudson, Susan Middleton, Bob Nickles and Terry Tripp. Their contact information can be found here.

This is an opportunity to impact a local issue - so call, fax and write your elected leaders today!

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