A committee discussing improvements to the Kenneth E. Cowan Civic Center may propose a ballroom, large kitchen and dressing rooms as additions to the building.
No kidding, a ballroom.
The idea is in preliminary stages as Chairman Matt Rogers offered a sketch last week. Committee members said there are no dressing rooms convenient to the Exhibition Hall, and caterers sometimes prepare plates in a hallway.
The ballroom proposal is a “dream,” emphasized City Administrator Chris Heard. He apparently told the committee to imagine how they would spend $5 million at the CCC, paying no attention to financial details.
Nonetheless, questions arise:
* Why would the CCC need a ballroom, dressing rooms or a new kitchen?
* Where are marketing studies to show such improvements could be cost-effective in any way?
* How much extra annual operating expense in utilities, maintenance and labor would this undetermined amount of floor space cost?
* What $5 million?
The Capital Improvement Tax fund contains excess funds from the original tax and unspent revenue collected since 2010 when the tax was renewed. This fund started the year with $2.3 million and an optimistic estimate that it would receive $1.6 million from sales tax. But of that $3.9 million total, the city plans to spend $1.7 million. This year alone, debt service is $801,465, or HALF the estimated tax income. The loan against the Capital Improvement Tax won’t be retired until 2018.
The city doesn’t have the $5 million that Heard told the committee it could spend. Let’s see Heard’s written financial plan to get the $5 million before we start spending it.
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