The San Diego City Council supported a resolution Tuesday to take the next step in forming a special taxing district to pay for a $575 million plan that would expand the city’s convention center.
Council members agreed to hold a public hearing on Jan. 24 to be followed by a vote by the council on the proposed Convention Center Facilities District.
San Diego County hotel owners in the district would pay an additional special tax in a tiered 1% to 3% taxing structure determined by a hotel’s proximity to the convention center.
Those taxes, expected to generate $36.5 million by 2017, would pay the lion’s share of the cost to build the convention center.
The city, the San Diego Unified Port District and the San Diego Community Redevelopment Agency each would contribute several million dollars a year.
In the current draft finance plan, the city would use a combination of equity and short-term financing to cover up to $42 million in design and pre-construction costs.
The city would issue one or more series of long-term bonds in 2014 to finance the active construction costs, Mary Lewis, San Diego’s chief financial officer, said during a presentation at a City Council meeting.
If more than 50% of hotel owners affected by the special tax express opposition at the meeting, the measure will stop there.
If the majority support the special tax, the council would then vote whether to place the issue on the April ballot.
If voters approve the special taxing district in April, the council would then have to approve the financing plan, currently in draft form, and adopt an ordinance allowing the treasurer to levy the tax during a council meeting in May.
Mayor Jerry Sanders thanked the council for voting in favor of taking the next step toward forming the district.
“The wisdom of this vote should be evident to everyone who has studied the numbers and understands the limitations of our current convention center,” Sanders said in a statement.
The estimated regional economic impact of the expansion would be nearly $700 million a year. It would create 7,000 new jobs and raise an estimated $12 million a year in additional tax revenue, according to the mayor’s office.