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The Sarasota County commissioners voted last week to divert some Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue from an account created to pay back a loan for the improvements to Ed Smith Stadium and to cover maintenance projects at the facility. Starting in the 2015 fiscal year, an estimated $275,000 will be used for capital projects d e s i g n e d t o b o o s t tourism, such as seed money for a conven- tion center. According to county financial s t a f f , t h e a m o u n t should increase to about $443,000 during the 2019 fiscal year. In a more controversial decision, the board also voted 4-1 to consider shifting fund- ing from tourism marketing and promotion toward capital projects. Commissioner Nora Patterson dissented on the latter vote, taken during the May 16 budget workshop. (See the related article in this issue.) The action clears the way for public hear- ings on the subject and more debate, with the board agreeing to put into its advertising of those hearings the highest percentage of Rising Tourist Development Tax revenue has led to an excess of funds in an account that is paying back a loan the county took out to renovate Ed Smith Stadium for the Spring Training home of the Baltimore Orioles plus ongoing maintenance there. Photo by Norman Schimmel A TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX SHIFT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TAKE STEPS TO SHIFT FUNDING FROM PROMOTION TO CAPITAL PROJECTS I am leaning towards having this potential money to build things or have it as seed money. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor

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