WPB Mayor Jeri Muoio exercises first-ever veto on downtown development $114 million deal

Posted at 7:50 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 06:49:43-05

It’s a first for West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.  She vetoed a deal involving tens of millions of dollars in public money that would have gone to a private downtown developer.

It's a massive project also known as Transit Village-touted as a combination housing, office, shopping, and public transportation hub that's all now in question.

We asked the Mayor, “What does this mean for the future of the project?

"I don't know the answer to that.”
As a way to incentivize building in West Palm Beach, and the city has offered tax revenue the project generated back to developers.

For CityPlace it was 80 percent. The mayor points out that was at a time when the city was starving for growth.

“That's not the case now. Historically, over the last three to five years we've been giving a million dollars, two million dollars."

This proposal includes 100 percent of the proceeds for 29 years, coming in at a whopping $114 million. All of it would go private developer Michael Masanoff and not the city.

“The only reason why I'm vetoing this is because the amount of money is way too much,” the Mayor says.

The deal was approved Monday by city commissioners on a three to two vote.  Last night, the mayor vetoed it, hanging the future of the project in the balance.

“It's not a good deal for the City of West Palm Beach, it's not a good deal for the citizens of West Palm Beach,” the Mayor says.

Here's how a deal could get done:

The Mayor says she would approve a deal that would max out at $25 million in revenue to Masanoff.

Or at next Tuesday's meeting, the commissioners could strike down the veto with a four to one vote. That would require a reversal from one of the commissioners who already voted no to the deal.

We’ve reached out to the developer and the three commissioners who approved the deal for comment, but so far we haven't heard back.