The 6 percent hotel bed tax in Jacksonville brought in about $14 million this year, and of that $1.2 million will be used to buy a new scoreboard for the Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Times-Union reports the high-definition scoreboard is part of a multimillion dollar effort to upgrade the cities sports venues.
As for why the city would make a million dollar plus investment on a scoreboard, they’re hoping it’ll help sport tourism.
We’ve heard Mayor Alvin Brown say that he wants to bring in additional college games, whether they be football or basketball, and we’ve seen the unveiling of a new professional lacrosse team, efforts to get more foot traffic downtown. The scoreboard could help attract an NCAA tournament.
It’s not the first time bed tax money is being used for sports. Since 2010 2 percent of the bed tax has been set aside for maintenance at the sports venues, that money used to go to fund the convention center; that 2 percent accounts for around $4 million.
Last year EverBank Field got around $3 million to upgrade their facility, they’re getting about the same amount of money this year. As for the arena, they took in about $700,000 last year according to the T-U and clearly they’ll be taking more this year.
If you’re wondering why the money isn’t going back to the city, well by law the revenue from the bed tax cannot go to the city’s general fund.