Saturday, May 31, 2008

County used CIP tax dollars for arena

Not that I got the information through my public record requests, but I did find where the extra money in the arena budget came from.

On June 5, 2007, in Resolution #07-737, the County Commissioners voted to transfer funds out of the unappropriated balance in the Capital Improvements Fund for the arena. The amount? $20 million!

I missed this in my previous searches through the resolutions because it did not contain the arena account number. But it explains why there were so few CIP projects approved in 2007.

As I speculated, they took taxpayer dollars out of existing County funds with the 'plan' to repay them later. In a non-answer to my public records request (didn't tell me WHERE the appropriated funds came from), David Mann, public affairs liaison for the Commissioners, wrote:

"... like any project of this nature financed by debt, the County has appropriated funds to meet our expenses until the bond issuance which is scheduled for later this summer."

So, the Commissioners 'borrowed' $20 million from the county's CIP and 'borrowed' $18.5 million by having the County Treasurer issue bonds, for a total of $38.5 million in up-front money that needs to be repaid.

When the long-term bonds for the arena are issued, they can repay these borrowed funds, but they must still be capable of paying the principle and interest on the final bonds out of the various revenue funds for the arena, including future profits, naming rights and suite sales and the hotel/motel tax.

Based on the original financing plan, they were short of funds to cover the $80 million estimated cost. Now that the cost is closer to $108 million, and considering that they're short (so far) $4.55 million from the state, they're even further behind.

I'm really looking forward to the final financing plan being made public and I'll be watching to see if, considering the financial situation, they make any changes in the scope of the project to bring the costs more in line. Or if they'll break their promise that the arena has to "pay for itself" by deciding to 'forgive' these loans in order to make the project a success...

2 comments:

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

But Maggie - "to err is human, to FORGIVE is devine." So, but forgiving the "loan" they will be setting the proper (insert politically correct religous preference) example.

Which is of course the best democrat example.

The A-Hole.

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

This isn't robbing Peter to pay Paul, this is ripping off both of them. Were we not told that this arena would be paid for without taxpayer dollars?

Oh I know that this is claimed to be "borrowed" money that will be paid back, but what would lead us to believe that this would happen when the money was borrowed in the middle of the night. And when it's not, in part or in whole, what have we to look forward to then?

Google Analytics Alternative