Weatherford Democrat

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February 8, 2014

Baker Hotel’s redevelopment close to reality

Mayor and City Manager discuss the City’s plan to finance its portion of the Baker Hotel renovation and how it won’t raise taxes

(Continued)

“It’s just financing, that’s all it is,” Howerton said. “It’s like going out and borrowing money for a house or car. It’s just the way that cities borrow money, basically.”

Based on tax revenue from 2013, Howerton said under this plan the city would only have to make up about $300,000 from the general fund to pay off the bond. With a 1.375-percent sales tax, he said the city would need about $270 million in taxable transactions to close that gap, so, it’s not something he feels is a major concern, especially if the economy continues to grow.

Mayor Mike Allen said the plan will be presented to the public at a regular city council meeting on Feb. 18. The council will then vote the following week, Feb. 25, to approve an ordinance calling for this relocation of tax dollars to be placed on the public ballot for the general election in May. If voters approve the plan, then city officials can move forward with reallocating tax dollars and structuring the bond issuance.

“This is kind of the real linchpin to this whole project,” Howerton said of the 4B sales tax. “It’s a very critical piece of the financing. It brings additional equity money into the project because the sales tax is paying this debt, not so much the project itself.

“It also – from the standpoint of the developers – is important because it speaks to the commitment of the community to want to partner with this project and ensure that this project moves forward. For a project of this magnitude, both in scope as well as cost, the developers are pulling financing from every plausible area.”

Allen also spoke to the importance of the vote and the council’s desire to formulate a plan that causes the smallest possible impact on the taxpayers of Mineral Wells.

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