Orange County task force on tourism development holds final meeting before awarding tax dollars

The Orange County Tourist Development Tax Citizen Advisory Task Force met on Monday for the final time to hear additional recommendations on how to spend tourist tax dollars.

On Tuesday, they will present that information to the tourist development council. Then they will decide how to split up more than $300 million.

"We don’t have enough dollars to do everything and meet the needs of every one of those organizations that came before the task force. But we’re going to move the needle," Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.


The task force wants to give some of that money to Florida Citrus Sports for a new roof at Camping World Stadium. That will cost about $800 million.

"It’ll be every bit of a 65-to-66,000-seat stadium that’ll compete with any across the county, in our opinion," Steve Hogan, Florida Citrus Sports CEO, told FOX 35 News.

Two other major sports projects are up for consideration – Amway Center renovations that cost over $250 million; and the construction of a sports village at the University of Central Florida with a price tag of around $176 million.

There is some opposition to the proposed allocation of funds. Some think the money should be used on affordable housing and transportation.

"Oftentimes we reinvest in the same entities in Orange County, because they do draw large amounts of tourism, but we forget that there are a lot of other economic links that supply those products," UCF Associate Profession of Tourism & Hospitality Kelly Semrad said.

The task force did agree on a proposal that will ask the state to change the criteria for how tourism tax dollars are used in the future.

"They may seem like policy-wonky type of things. But those are important decisions that are going to move the needle just a little bit further," a citizen’s task force member said.