The jaw dropping hotel boondoggle LTE FN Post

An editorial the Frederick News-Post ran August 11, 2013 led off: “While it’s still early stages for the hotel and conference center planned for downtown, we have to confess our jaws dropped slightly at the estimated price tag the city will have to pay to move the project forward: $10 million to $12 million.” I wonder where your jaws are now 30 months later with the public sector support having more than doubled to $25.7 million, as of the City’s Preliminary Revised Budget ‘matrix’ of February 4. And that $25.7m number was calculated, we’ve been warned, before detailed design is complete. And where are your jaws with Mayor McClement continuing to insist that taxpayers are not ‘on the hook’ even though the state’s Stadium Authority insists that as a condition for state funds the mayor sign an agreement committing the City to accept sole responsibility for the operating costs and losses on the conference center. That was in black and white in the bills advanced by hotel boosters Young, Krimm, and Young (HB1474/SB1038.) The Mayor spoke in Annapolis to house and senate committees urging them to enact this City liability for losses into state law. Further, after years of insisting that both the hotel and the conference center would be a purely private business, now the mayor says the conference center part will be “public.”  That is the part most liable to bleed red ink. If Mayor McClement’s “not on the hook” baloney on the hotel doesn’t get him voted out of office next election my jaw will drop.

Peter Samuel

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