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COLUMN

Council watch

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to

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Item: The city approves an extension for the feasibility study and purchase option agreement between the city of Orlando and SED Development LLC.
Translation: Sticking with the holy trinity of venues-deal casualties in fermentation, the Orlando Magic – otherwise known as SED Development LLC when it's nasty – had this grand scheme last year to redevelop that garage-cum-retail space across from the Amway Center into a $100 million space-age entertainment complex. The city, as it does, bowed at the opportunity to even allow the Magic a full year to complete feasibility studies on the parcel, because, what the hell, we already dropped half-a-billion on an arena for the team. Actually, it charged the Magic a $100,000 deposit for the yearlong hold, which is only half-refundable. No word on whether this extension through January (the original one-year agreement expired last week) will see the Magic spending a dime for being lazy with its luxuries, but if the past is anything to go on, all signs point to "no."

Item: The city approves the 2012-2013 Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce, d/b/a Orlando Inc., Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce funding agreement.
Translation: Last year, the city caught some deserved guff from fiscal hounds when it agreed to hand over $62,600 from city coffers to the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce to help fund its new shoulder-rubbing Entrepreneurs Academy. Running on that familiar chamber meme – pay us, and you'll know people – Jacob Stuart and Co. approached the city again this year, only this time they only want $50,000 to fund their "Entrepreneurial Ecosystem." It's a ballsy move, considering the hell the chamber is getting for its role in all things county these days (also, the chamber only pays the city $1 per year in rent for its office space), but it's one the city is gleefully open to. After all, city businesspeople will only have to pay $250 for the two-day glad-hand circle jerk, while outsiders will be out $425. "It's a steal!" said absolutely no one.

Correction: Half a billion dollars – not half a million – was spent on the Amway Center. This story has been revised to reflect the correction.

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