SBD/13/Franchises

ORLANDO'S BASEBALL BID FACES TWO LOCAL VOTES TODAY

     The dispute in Orlando over a proposed tax to support the
construction of a stadium for a possible baseball expansion bid
is close to settlement.  The Ornage County Commission votes today
to approve the tourism tax increase and how it will be allocated.
The prospective owners of an Orlando baseball franchise want the
revenue to be put toward stadium maintenance, while county
officials "were reluctant to promise additional dollars for the
project."  On Monday, the county agreed to put a minimum amount
of the revenue into a reserve account to pay for maintenance and
improvements, with more funds available later.  Both votes today
are expected to pass, a day before Orlando officials make their
presentation to the MLB expansion committee in Chicago (Marc
Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/13).
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