Below: A chronology of today's Florida Panthers / Broward County Commission meeting, with highlights of all that was said. Bottom line: A majority of commissioners support giving more hotel taxes to the team.
The Broward County Commission is holding an all day workshop today to attempt to form consensus on how to handle a hefty financial request from the Florida Panthers.
If this is your first exposure to the issue, click here for recent coverage.
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3:05 p.m.: Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief gives direction to staff, based on what her colleagues said and asked for:
1. Analyze the property insurance situation and whether the arena could be brought under the county's umbrella policy.
2. Regarding the 22 acres, analyze what can be put there, and what plans exist in terms of gambling.
3. Regarding the arena, analyze what would/could the county do if the Panthers left.
4. Commissioners will meet individually with county top staff about Section 7 of the staff report, which is the request to alter the contract - the financial guts of the request.
"I've heard a general consensus that you want to do something,'' Sharief said, "but we need to figure out if the number is $4 million or the $6.2 million or something in between or nothing.''
Sharief told the Panthers that "everyone's asking to slow things down," which usually means 60 to 90 days.
Doug Cifu said he'd be agreeable to breaking apart the 22 acre development request from the request for more favorable lease terms.
"To me that is a separate issue,'' he said. He said he and co-owner Vinnie Viola didn't go into the Panthers deal wanting to develop the 22 acres.
He said if it were up to him, he'd have an agreement in a day. But he realizes that won't happen in government.
He said he'd like to have a deal drafted in 30 days.
The county attorney says consultants might have to be hired.
"This is a very complex commercial transaction. It's not what we do for a living,'' said a terse county attorney, Joni Armstrong Coffey.
The time frame will remain 60 to 90 days to get to a finished product ready to be voted on. The real estate part of the deal - the 22 acres - will be broken off and dealt with separately, later.
3:02 p.m.: Mayor Barbara Sharief will be the last commissioner to speak. She starts by saying that the Panthers can't be expected to win every year.