Orange County Board of County Commissioners Approves Allocation of $50 Million in Tourist Development Tax Dollars

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On Nov. 1, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) unanimously approved a three-part measure to allocate $45 million of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) dollars to fund the phase II construction of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts; to allocate $5 million to establish a consolidated sports bid fund under Visit Orlando; and to restructure the City of Orlando’s Communities Venues debt.

Mayor Jacobs initially proposed the measure in Sept., for consideration by the Tourist Development Council (TDC). In follow up to a favorable vote by the TDC, the City of Orlando and Orange County BCC each considered the measure. On Oct. 24, Mayor Dyer and his City Commission colleagues voted in favor of the TDC recommendation. On Nov. 1, the Orange County BCC followed suit.

“Today’s decision is creating a new chapter in Orange County’s history and will continue our vision of making our community the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Mayor Jacobs said.

The approved allocation of funds is an efficient way to take advantage of tourist-generated taxes and will not raise taxes or financially impact local residents. The TDT is a 6 percent tax on short-term lodging, such as hotel rooms.

With the restructuring of the City of Orlando’s Communities Venues debt, TDT dollars were freed up to fund construction at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and to create the consolidated sports bid fund.

The establishment of a consolidated sports bid fund allows for a more effective sports promotion effort. The fund will be established with an initial amount of $5 million, with up to $2 million in replenishment funds each year after.

The sports bid fund will also increase funding for marketing, ensuring the strength of the tourism industry. Once finalized, an application process will allow for the possibility of future cultural and sports assets for the community and residents.

“I’m deeply grateful for the overwhelming support I received from our hospitality partners for the plan I rolled out in September,” Mayor Jacobs said. “It creates historic opportunities to enrich our community for our local residents and families, while protecting the tens of thousands of families who are dependent on tourism for their livelihood.”

The $45 million in funding for Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will spur the construction of phase II of the Dr. Phillips Center, including the cutting-edge Steinmetz Hall and The Green Room.

Since opening in late 2014, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has become one of the most celebrated artistic centers in the nation. The Steinmetz Hall will be the home of local performers, including the Orlando Philharmonic, the Orlando Ballet and Opera Orlando. Phase II will break ground in Jan. 2017, with an expected grand opening in 2020.

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