Century Loses Bond Agency Deal That’s Made Them $1.8 Million By Approving Nearly $4 Billion In Projects

August 2, 2022

Century has lost a deal that has earned them nearly $1.8 million since 1999, with most of that coming in just  the past six years.

The town has served an integral role in the tax-exempt financing of nearly $4 billion worth of projects, including affordable housing projects, airport facilities, hotel and convention developments promoting tourism, health care projects, and K-12 educational buildings.

On the surface it might seem unlikely that Century, one of the poorest small cities in the state, could play a part in the financing of dozens of multi-million projects including the Community Maritime Park in Pensacola, $439 million in hotel and convention centers for the Seminole  Nation, airport cargo terminals, schools and apartment complexes. The bond money is not from municipal funds of either Gulf Breeze or Century.

The approvals were granted by Century and Gulf Breeze as members of the Capital Trust Agency (the “Agency”), an independent public body for the purpose of financing or otherwise accomplishing development programs. Century entered into the Capital Trust Agency with Gulf Breeze in 1999 with Century essentially serving as the “second signature”  for CTA, certifying that the projects meet a public purpose under IRS rules and regulations.

The City of Gulf Breeze has now partnered with the newly formed Capital Trust Authority (referred to hereafter as the “Authority” in this article). The new Authority has reached a deal with Quincy, Florida, as their second signature for all new bond issues. With no involvement, Century will receive no income.

In 2019, a scathing grand jury report found that Century was in a state of financial emergency, and that the council and administration failed to act in the best interest of the community. “Town officials have shown a clear lack of knowledge and understanding as to the operations of a governmental organization,” the grand jury found.

About the same time 2019, Century pushed for the first rate increase in about 20 years, from $350 for each $1 million of bonds issued with a $2,500 minimum per issuance. An agreement was reached to up the payment to $400 per million up to $50 million and $325 for each additional million.

By 2021, Century was looking for another fee increase to $775 per million. And the old CTA was facing increased difficulty in getting bonds approved smoothly by the Century town council. Due to the lack of a quorum, some Agency bond projects were delayed, and CTA faced growing discord between council members.

The Authority’s new deal with Quincy will pay that city $400 per million in bonds, with a minimum of $5,000.

“The Capital Trust Agency (the “Agency”) is still in existence and will continue to administer the outstanding bonds that have been issued dating back to 1999,”  Denis McKinnon told NorthEscambia.com. He is the executive director of both the old Agency and the new Authority. Century only received payment upon the issuance of bonds, so their income from the Agency will now presumably by zero as all new bonds will be issued by the Authority with Gulf Breeze and Quincy.

The Agency has paid Century a total of $1,789,828.52 with  more than $1 million of that since 2016.

Century’s budget for the current fiscal year ended September 30 projected $200,000 in income for CTA. According to a recent financial report, the town had realized $264,841.09 this fiscal year.

“I have not heard from them (the Agency) since January,” Boutwell recently said. “They have not contacted me whatsoever…I thought we had a good deal; I thought we had a good partner.” The Century town council has not been informed of the situation to date in a regular council meeting.

Boutwell said he realizes Century will be impacted when some quarter million dollars is removed from next year’s budget, but the town should have never relied heavily on that income since an exact amount was never guaranteed.

“It’s a gift; you won’t know what you are getting. Who knows if anything could go through; I don’t depend on it,” he said. “We are not losing financially; it was a gift.”

Pictured top: Capital Trust Agency Executive Director Denis McKinnon addresses the Century Town Council, Century attorney Matt Dannheisser, then Century interim town manager Vernon Prather, and then town clerk Kim Godwin on October 14, 2021.  Pictured inset: Century Attorney Matt Dannheisser during an October 14, 2021, town council workshop to discuss the Capital Trust Agency fees. Pictured below: (L-R) Capital Trust Agency bond counsel Kareem Spratling, Executive Director Denis McKinnon and Gulf Breeze Mayor Cherry Fitch met with the Century Town Council on October 14, 2021. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

17 Responses to “Century Loses Bond Agency Deal That’s Made Them $1.8 Million By Approving Nearly $4 Billion In Projects”

  1. TJ on August 3rd, 2022 8:34 am

    It is a shame that the city and yes the county let the protracted ineptness of government continue. The small town of Century is a doorway into the State of Florida and Escambia County. It is the first thing may tourists who drive to the beach areas see. What a sight it is. Dilapidated buildings, sidewalks crumbling, businesses shut down, and at night very little street lights. It is a disgrace. Century’s leadership (supposed) should all be held accountable. Every darn one of them is too busy worrying about themselves and not doing the job they were elected. Someone from Century should be at every county planning meeting advocating for improvements. From street lighting, demolition of abandoned buildings, landscaping and appearance improvements as you enter into Florida; all of this and more. Business needs to be attracted to Century. No wonder children are learning to deal drugs, or game the system to survive. Century used to have schools, a sawmill, things to be proud of, now it is a town ravaged by time and gasping its last breath. Can it be saved?Or will it be on life support only to to continue to degrade until finally the plug is pulled. I think it is time to take action one way or the other. Fully commit to saving the town or pull the plug.

  2. Big AL on August 2nd, 2022 11:48 pm

    If eSCAMbia County is the laughing stock of all of the counties in Florida (and it is), Century is surely the laughing stock of all of the towns in Florida. I don’t read the comics in the paper anymore, I just look for stories about Century to get my laughs for the day. Sad.

  3. RaD on August 2nd, 2022 11:27 pm

    @Referendum – I don’t believe Florida Law allows annexing or merging with another city if they do not share a common border.

  4. tg on August 2nd, 2022 5:35 pm

    Look at my face do i look surprised?

  5. Referendum on August 2nd, 2022 2:43 pm

    Another possibility to improve Century’s life could be for the City of Gulf Breeze to annex the Town of Century.

    Beautifully landscaped medians. Heavily enforced traffic speeds. Photo enforced traffic lights, I mean light. Youth get to attend “A” scoring elementary, middle, and high schools.

    And a government that knows how finance works.

  6. Referendum on August 2nd, 2022 2:25 pm

    Residents of the municipality:

    Petition for a referendum to unincorporate the town. Have Council put it to a vote in 2024.

    If the vote approves unincorporation, turn responsibility of all municipal properties and services over to Escambia County.

    If the vote favors remaining incorporated, get serious about the functionality of your local government.

    If you want good governance for the community, a decision about how to deliver it is needed. Whichever wins, get serious about it.

  7. Well on August 2nd, 2022 2:05 pm

    And 2 council seats with no one running for them.

  8. Fence Jumper on August 2nd, 2022 1:10 pm

    The welcome to Florida sign needs be moved further south to about McDavid.

  9. Common Sense on August 2nd, 2022 12:52 pm

    I think the mayor is doing all he can with the clown show on the city council. Some members of some town councils make a. mockery of the institutions of government by masquerading as leaders when in reality they are part of the problem.

  10. Ol' Skinny on August 2nd, 2022 12:44 pm

    Ringling Brothers Circus proudly presents … The Greatest Show on Earth: CENTURY!!!

    Are ANY of us surprised?

  11. SH on August 2nd, 2022 10:57 am

    Most drama per capita of any town

  12. Just Know on August 2nd, 2022 10:53 am

    And, thus ends the relationship with Gulf Breeze and therefore the Town of Century – August 2, 2022.

  13. RaD on August 2nd, 2022 8:58 am

    @SW – I agree but I cannot recall William ever posting a story where revoking the town charter was discussed by city council and he has someone at every meeting. They could at least add a binding referendum to the general election coming up and see what the citizens want.

  14. Oversight on August 2nd, 2022 7:23 am

    You can’t make this stuff up. Show-up to regular meetings and take care of the town’s business; that is what each member of the council is elected to do. But they can’t even do that right. Through their ineptness, the town has lost a quarter of a million dollars per year of income that now goes somewhere else.

  15. SW on August 2nd, 2022 7:15 am

    Now would be a good time to break up the little failed town.

  16. Rodchester on August 2nd, 2022 3:20 am

    Beautiful!!!!

  17. RaD on August 2nd, 2022 3:05 am

    Somebody got greedy and they found someone new.





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