“Whenever public dollars are on the line, the bar should be very high,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown, who oversees the finance committee. “Your budget doesn’t grow as fast as your population does, so it’s getting tighter. We needed to feel very secure in the financials of a deal like this.”
Authority officials have said they believe hotel profits and rebated hotel bed tax revenue will be sufficient to cover the debt and that the city and county will not be called upon to repay it. That has been the case for the first Hilton.
The publicly backed portion of the debt is expected to garner lower interest rates than the piece that isn’t secured against public revenues.
As part of the council’s ordinance, it is requiring that employees at the hotel expansion be paid at least $15 an hour and that the authority vote on a “neutrality agreement” that prevents the Hilton from trying to quash attempts by workers to form a union.