Volusia County will give the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce $20,000 of tax money to put on a softball tournament in November. The event is called Brawl at the Beach and will feature Major League Baseball players like Yadi Molina, and possibly Albert Pujols.
Larry McKinney is the CEO of the Chamber. He says this will be an investment that Volusia County will get back in tax revenue and prestige.
"You've got the people that come in from out of town. They buy hotel rooms. They spend money. They go to restaurants and gas stations and that kind of thing. So we had a thousand people this year, it was a first time event."
During that first year of the event though, the Chamber of Commerce only managed to raise about $3,800 for the charities of the Major League players, not enough to get them to come back. McKinney says the answer was to come to the county for $20,000, and double their fundraising efforts in the private sector.
"It's not a bailout. They didn't have to come back. The question is as a community do we want them to come back? Do you want Yadi Molina, the Molina brothers, Albert Pujols? Do you want them in this community?
Molina has committed to building a baseball training facility in Port Orange that will add three jobs, but says he will do that with or without this grant money. Morton Culligan went to the Commission Chambers to speak against spending the money. He waved his tax bill at council members.
"This is my power point. A lot of people are sick of paying for these people that are constantly begging from government and getting into our pockets. That's my power point."
Culligan does not want the taxpayers involved in the baseball business, saying if the Chamber wants to put an event like this on, let them do it themselves.
"Voting for these worthless extravagances is an insult to the taxpayer, and a disgrace to the community."
The County Council voted 5-2 in favor of giving the Chamber $20,000 to put on the event.