CIB approves 2011 budget

Members of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County on Monday unanimously approved a 2011 budget that is expected to increase spending by $10 million over this year.

The CIB, which operates the city’s sports facilities as well as the Indiana Convention Center, is banking on the center’s expansion to attract more meetings next year. The additional business is expected to translate into increased visitor spending on hotels and food, boosting the tax revenue the agency collects by an estimated 3 percent to 6 percent.

But as CIB President Ann Lathrop cautioned, it will take awhile before the 254,000-square-foot draws enough visitors to produce significantly more revenue from the taxes.

Although he voted in favor of the budget, board member Michael McQuillen expressed his reservations about the spending plan, saying, “hopefully, we have a good year.”   

Including debt obligations, the CIB’s total budget for 2011 is expected to be $104.4 million.

Chief Financial Officer Dan Huge reiterated Lathrop’s insistence that CIB funding for the Pacers to help operate Conseco Fieldhouse—which totals $30 million over the next three years—is not the only reason for the larger budget.

They instead point to $3.5 million in other improvements to the Fieldhouse, which is operated by the CIB, as well as $1.5 million earmarked for renovations and repairs to other buildings it owns. An additional $1 million in utility costs to heat and cool the 254,000-square-foot expansion of the convention center, set to open Jan. 20, also is a factor.

The 2011 operating budget allocates $3.5 million, the same amount as this year, to the Indianapolis Colts for a share of revenue from stadium events. Another $1.6 million—$100,000 more than this year—will be given to the team to reimburse it for game-day expenses.

Other highlights of the 2011 budget include $300,000 in funding for the Arts Council of Indianapolis, which formerly received as much as $1 million annually, and $300,000 to support local tourism efforts. Most of that funding was cut or reduced in the current budget as the CIB grappled with its budget woes.

In addition, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is slated to receive $8 million next year. Unlike previous years, the money will not come from CIB revenue but from downtown-development funds. The CIB typically funds about 70 percent of the ICVA’s budget.

The City-County Council is set to receive the budget at its Sept. 20 meeting, and members could approve it Oct. 25.

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