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The Baltimore Sun

Dania Beach opposes Florida Panthers request

Another city has come out officially opposed to the Florida Panthers hockey team's request for $80 million in additional tourist taxes.

Dania Beach commissioners voted unanimously this week to take a stance against the Panthers request.

Dania Beach joins the cities of Plantation, Wilton Manors, Hollywood, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach and the town of Davie in opposing the request.

Of the major stakeholders, only Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise remain mum. Fort Lauderdale is the largest generator of tourist taxes, and Sunrise is where the Panthers play, at the BB&T Center.

In a letter to the mayor, Dania Beach Mayor Walter Duke says Dania Beach needs tourist tax funding to shore up the 'severely eroding coastline.''

"Any new agreement with the Florida Panthers that includes additional tax benefits for the Panthers from tourist tax dollars will compromise the funding of the projects and programs already needed to support tourism in our city and Broward County,'' he wrote.

The city thus opposes the re-programming of tourist tax dollars to the Panthers without replacement revenues to pay for beach renourishment and other tourist-related programs.

Further, the city opposes the Florida Panthers' vision for a casino at BB&T Center, on county land.

"The development of this casino,'' Duke's letter says, "would be detrimental to the success of the city's new and long-awaited redevelopment of the Dania Jai Ala property.''

So, he went on, the development of a casino at BB&T "or the transfer of the Dania Jai Alai gaming license'' would also be opposed by Dania Beach.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce also opposes the request for tourist taxes.


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