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Council Watch 

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to

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Last week, while we were distracted by the collective bargaining arm-wrestle for cost-of-living wage increases for the police department, we managed to overlook the fact that in the new city budget, the mayor and commissioners had rushed forward with a 21 percent pay raise. Why? Because, um, there are more people here now, so their jobs are harder or something. Also, because elected people in other places with similar delusions of grandeur make more money, and that’s not fair. Anyway, the mayor’s salary is likely to jump to $195,500 from $160,892. How’s your checkbook look?

The city approves the Orlando Sports Holdings LLC Qualified Target Industry tax refund resolution.
Translation: So, usually when the city waves the big QTI flag, it’s accompanied by some concocted drama that a certain company might relocate elsewhere if it isn’t given better tax incentives; in exchange for said incentives, the company promises to create high-paying jobs. Everybody wins. This time, though, it smells funny. The city is offering the Orlando City Soccer Club – which, let’s face it, isn’t going anywhere – a minor $21,000 payout over five years, with a state match of $105,000. Oh, and let’s not forget that Seminole County just promised the millionaire’s club $2 million toward the inevitable stadium. Let’s just give these guys keys to the kingdom and be done with it.

The city approves the 2013-2014 Florida Citrus Sports Association Inc. funding agreement.
Translation: It may seem like we’re a little hard on sports here (we are), but considering that Florida Citrus Sports is constantly lobbying the city for millions to rebuild the Citrus Bowl, is it not strange that the city is funding the association with $50,000 annually? Oh, there’s an exchange. We get a float in the Citrus Parade and a commercial during the Champs Sports Bowl. The city expects that the return on investment is $2.8 million in exposure. That’s sports math!

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