Legislation analysis by Metro Council attorney Jon Cooper seems to validate concerns that voting on land acquisition is essentially a final vote on the planned Music City Center.
The analysis states in part: “Although this resolution and the companion ordinance authorizing the acquisition of the property are not the final authorization for the construction of a convention center, the council office would point out that acquiring the property and then deciding not to approve the eventual financing for the construction of the convention center would raise several procedural and legal issues.
“State law requires that the tourist accommodation taxes, which are being pledged for the property acquisition, be used for the ‘the modification or construction of a publicly owned convention center in excess of four hundred million dollars ($400,000,000) in costs...’
“Thus, once the property is acquired, it is doubtful that the property could be used for another purpose while the debt is outstanding, and that any sale of the property would have to be applied towards the debt service. Upon further discussions with the finance director and Metro’s bond counsel, the council office has requested an opinion from bond counsel regarding this matter to clarify Metro’s options if this scenario were to arise.”
District 24 Councilman Jason Holleman pointed out that because the tourism taxes created could only be used for a convention center that appropriating them to pay back debt on land acquisition was essentially approving a convention center.
Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling said Metro’s bond counsel would write a letter stating the proposed step-by-step approach was permissible.
Pick up a copy of Monday’s City Paper more news about the new downtown convention center plans.