In an editorial on Oct. 30, The Frederick News-Post claims, without offering any supporting facts, that a downtown public-private hotel project will be a “vital driver to sustain and extend development” in the city of Frederick, and its “importance cannot be overstated.”

The project is financially so risky that no hotel developer will touch it unless they are subsidized by local government. Yet, the newspaper claims confusion as to why anyone, including the governor, would oppose taxpayer money being invested in this project.

City and county political and business leaders who support borrowing money that will put taxpayers at risk for a potential multi-million dollar money loser have never offered evidence to support their claims with reasonable probability or certainty that there is a market for a second downtown hotel that will generate sufficient sales and property tax revenue, job growth, added commerce, and higher property values to local business and property owners, to justify the risk.

Therefore, a government subsidized hotel project is a purely speculative venture that may never generate sufficient revenues and benefits to the city and county to cover the debt payments incurred. This will likely require a diversion of public funds from other vital sources or an increase in property and sales taxes to satisfy the debt. Similar problems have occurred throughout the country when public monies were used to help finance a stadium, convention center, hotel and other commercial projects that did not produce the expected increases in tax revenues.

This never-ending political vanity and ego project needs to be brought to a halt before additional valuable public resources are wasted.

(30) comments

FCPS-Principal

Building the hotel should be easy. Just follow these instructions: (1) buy the land, (2) contract it out. End of problem. If the would-be owners would just follow those two steps they could have their stinking hotel pronto. Can't buy the land? Don't have the cash? Well, then borrow it at market rates, like everyone else. Got no credit? Tough. No hotel. Just like everyone else.

jagman

This letter is spot on correct. As far as the referenced editorial in the fnp, it's clear that the tentacles of the Randall family still infect this paper. Don't forget that it isn't just the Plamondons who want to pick you pocket. The Randalls want to unload a worthless property.

KellyAlzan

I'm suspecting that part of the Randals sale agreement of the FNP is that the new owner(s) shall promote the proposed downtown hotel.

gary4books

Worthless? Right on the major tourist attraction? Keep on dreaming.

tatt2ed

Gary, we disagree a lot, but I also believe the hotel should be built.

jagman

I don't see anyone else lining up to buy that property. Ever.

Kind of makes it worthless by definition.

DickD

Hough has said it best:

https://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/2017/06/21/debate-continues-over-frederick-hotel-conference-center/State Sen. Michael J. Hough, Frederick County’s other senator, compares the project to the Rocky Gap resort in Western Maryland and the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge — two money-losing ventures in which the state invested two decades ago.“I’m not exactly sure why the state is still investing in hotels, given our track record,” the Republican lawmaker said. Rocky Gap lost money for years before casino gambling was permitted there under new ownership. The Cambridge resort continues to lose money, according to the Department of Legislative Services, but the state was repaid in 2006 and local officials insist it has stimulated growth in that Eastern Shore city.

gary4books

Rocky Gap is (0r was) a casino. A risky investment. Trederick already has visitors.

nbouqu1

WRONG. Rocky Gap was NOT originally a casino. And to be honest, you have to really really screw up to loose money on a casino. *looks over at Donald Trump*

Frayou

Agree. If this elitists Social Club is to be so important, it would have been built using private funded for-profit business. A 200 room hotel & conference center. Just the place for local businesses leaders & politicians can meet, eat, drink, and sleep off a hangover central to downtown. Hopefully without taxpayer funds.

gary4books

Halt the project? Looks like it is dead in the water. I will say that those who pay lobbyists in Annapolis to stop the project have won with help from Frederick County Republicans. Many in Frederick City like the idea, but they are not paid supporters. Just those who want to extend courtesy to visitors and to help local downtown businesses with more customers.

Dwasserba

What...price...courtesy

gary4books

What price? That can (and should be) negotiated. I have no idea what it will be. I just think it is a good expenditure.

MD1756

Are you willing to put off critical infrastructure needs to pay for a courtesy? Instead of providing tax payer funding for what should be a private sector project since it has rsik and a questionable return on investment, the various levels of government would be better off spending the same amount of money on needed infrastructure such as schools, environmental protection, bridges, etc.

richardlyons

Many in Frederick do not support. No problem with hotel, just the government funding part. Not sure why that is so difficult to understand.

KellyAlzan

Exactly.

gary4books

OK. One more time. If it did not NEED some start up money, we woud already have a hotel. OK?

richardlyons

and why can't the Plamondon's provide said "start up money". If a good investment banks would be all to eager to "lend" them the startup money. So why no investors? Must be a bad investment is my conclusion. OK?

gabrielshorn2013

Exactly Gary. Since it is apparently too much of a business risk, taxpayer money should be thrown at it? Why can't you see that? It is not the place of government to eliminate all business risks on a private venture.

jagman

Gary, Once again you claim this whole thing would offer a "courtesy" to visitors.

I do understand you have little or no business experience but even without that you should be able to understand that this hotel would charge visitors for renting a room.

That would be a business transaction. Not a courtesy.

Easy enough for most to understand.

And let's be clear. It's not only republicans that object to the taxpayer subsidy. Most everyone who has posted to the various articles about the project over that last several years objects. That would include nearly all your fellow liberals.

Makes this something "both sides" can agree on!

gary4books

Why hve a "visitor center" staffed to help visitors? With a hotel, we coud move the center and save money. Answer: Visitors can save a downtown area.

threecents

I agree that it would fill a need and will probably succeed. That is the opinion of most in the city and county government. My problem with it is that it might be so successful that it will significantly increase traffic - a price of success.

jagman

That, of course, is the subject they never want to discuss. Traffic is awful already on any route you use to get to downtown Frederick. There is no way to improve any of those access points either. Just imagine how bad it would be if there was any significant increase in traffic.

petersamuel

Gary yes it is “dead in the water,” but I fear it’s not dead. It has been dead in the water several times before in the ten years it’s been kicking around City and Winchester Halls and the corridors of Annapolis, and yet they managed to revive the monster each time. It smells worse each time they revive it. It really is time to bury it, deep. As long was its stink of corruption lingers honest businesses will be reluctant to invest here. We need to send a clear message: you don’t collude behind closed doors for special favors at the expense of taxpayers and get away with it.

FCPS-Principal

Don't forget public subsidies to businesses are never paid back. They take the money and keep the profit, if any. Profits are never used to pay back subsidies received. Of course if there's losses, the public is expected to cover those. And if the business creates an environmental mess requiring cleanup, the public is expected to pick that tab up too.

gary4books

Never? Hardly ever? I suspect if they do wellthat they wil pay more in taxes. Or not. The Hotel certainly wil pay more if it does well.

petersamuel

Gary: the whole idea of tax increment financing by the City and the hotel development incentive program of the County (via the Tourism Council) is that Plamondon's downtown hotel WON'T pay those increased taxes, but that instead they will be channeled into repaying loans made to finance the share of the project assumed by the City and the County. In any case having new taxpayers (whether personal or business) is no panacea for budgetary problems. New taxpayers are new users of city services so their taxes are needed to pay for regular stuff like water, stormwater, parks, police etc etc.

KellyAlzan

Don’t forget.....they want to TAX OTHER LOCAL hotels to PAY for the proposed downtown hotel. That’s like taxing McDonald’s to pay for a Chik-fil-a

Burgessdr

Kelly. Other hotels are not being taxed. Hiw ignorant

KellyAlzan

“Are not”. Keywords.

Now do your research. Then, come

Back and reply.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.