Saturday, October 5, 2013

OpEd: NBEDZ Blows $6.5 million on Miracle City Mall Bailout

OpEd by
Scott Ellis,
Brevard County Clerk of Court 

Corporate welfare continues to run amok in Brevard County as the North Brevard Economic Development Zone, soon a $3 million annual County slush fund, moves to ‘grant’ a potential buyer of the Miracle City Mall $6.5 million in free site improvements. Like the Sarno landfill, buy in the morning, get another $6 million that afternoon.

The NBEDZ was created solely to distribute millions of dollars annually in North Brevard to favored interests.  A $100,000 a year Director was immediately hired to oversee the largesse.

It is ironic County Management and County Commissioners bemoan the lack of funds for capital repair and replacement, but we have $6.5 million for a new mall buyer, $2 million to landscape SR 520, $1.4 million for EDC, about $5 million for other redevelopment districts, and millions here and there for economic ‘incentives’.

Brevard County is running its own version of TARP and Stimulus, leaving critical infrastructure in shambles in the scramble to throw out millions in bailout dollars.

The Miracle City Mall’s last joke may fall on Titusville.  Titusville will borrow $6.5 million and the NBEDZ will reimburse bond payments.  Should three Commissioners later vote to abolish the NBEDZ, Titusville will rightfully find itself holding the tab for its free money.