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Council Watch 

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

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We’re in the red! Or at least that would be the most discernible shade of indebtedness to be divined from this week’s post-budget-negotiation agenda. It was officially time to divvy up all of the designated monies to the arts groups, community groups and even LYNX so that the city could continue its illusion of forward motion. It was also time to acknowledge red ribbons (because they cure drug abuse) and red fire trucks (because the Orlando Fire Department collected $1 million for muscular dystrophy). But mostly it was time to spend more money than we have.

The city approves documents relating to the community venues.
Translation: As expected and ensured by the powers of vertical inevitability peculiar to this region, the city is making its official go at redrafting the 2007 interlocal agreement drafted with Orange County to build the vaunted venues. The Amway Center is already here, of course, but now that the county is throwing $25 million more in tourist taxes at the performing arts center and the Citrus Bowl fancies itself in a modern-day reconstruction, things need to be restated. Oh, plus we’re building a soccer stadium. Nothing we haven’t already chewed and choked on here: Huge piles of cash are being thrown around for your diversions, whether you need diversion or not. The county will take it up later this month.

The city approves the Central Florida Partnership funding agreement.
Translation: You know who needs public funding? This chamber-shaped collective of private business interests does, that’s who. The city will provide $62,000 – while the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency throws in $30,000 – so that the chamber folks can do some quality SunRail outreach with other business owners. In return, the CFP must pre-sell 10,000 SunRail passes or something before that runaway train launches in 2014. Also, seminars. There are always seminars.

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