Conseco Fieldhouse and Local Government and Lucas Oil Stadium and Capital Improvement Board and Sports Venues and Government & Economic Development and Government and Sports Business

CIB finances faring better than expected

December 13, 2010

The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County is running $12 million ahead of budget, due in large part to higher revenue and fewer expenses than members expected.

Through the first nine months of the year, the most recent budget numbers available, CIB posted $67 million in total revenue—$6.5 million more than budgeted—and trimmed $5.8 million in expenses.

A large chunk of the revenue, $4 million, is part of $8 million CIB received from the city to fund the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, to help free up other funds to use toward the $10 million it will provide the Indiana Pacers to help operate Conseco Fieldhouse. Overall, CIB will give the team $30 million over the next three years.

Still, CIB President Ann Lathrop is satisfied with the agency’s financial situation, particularly since it spent most of last year wrestling with a $47 million budget deficit. CIB will meet for the last time this year at 3 p.m. Monday in the Indiana Convention Center board room.

“I think our revenues are trending higher,” she said. “Even if you take out the $4 million, we’re still trending ahead.”

CIB, which operates the city’s sports facilities as well as the Indiana Convention Center, is supported partly by hotel and food and beverage taxes.

It took in $13.8 million in food and beverage taxes through September, which was about $958,000 more than budgeted. The $17 million collected in hotel taxes fell short of expectations by about $461,000, however.

“Hotel [taxes are] still down,” Lathrop said, “but we’re hopeful we have hit the bottom.”

Conversely, an expansion of the Professional Sports Development Area to include the hotels that comprise the massive J.W. Marriott hotel complex brought in $1.3 million more than was budgeted through September, and county admissions tax receipts were $958,868 more than expected.

Further assisting CIB finances is the $5.9 million decrease in personnel expenses. The agency cut several positions last year, but Lathrop said the drop in those expenses this year largely can be attributed to lesser demand in “temporary services” to help set up for conventions.

The downside is that CIB can’t bill a convention for the use of extra help, which shows up in its budget as an $863,878 shortfall through September in labor reimbursements.

“There are still extreme price pressures out there to make the city competitive [to host a convention],” Lathrop said. “There’s just a lot of deal-making going on right now.”

The 254,000-square-foot expansion to the Indiana Convention Center slated to open next month is expected to translate into increased visitor spending on hotels and food, boosting the tax revenue the agency collects even more—by an estimated 3 percent to 6 percent.

Taking that into account, CIB in August approved a 2011 budget that is set to increase spending by $10 million over this year, to help fund the $10 million obligation to the Pacers. Including debt, CIB’s total budget for 2011 is expected to be $104.4 million.
 

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