Fund Reserve Getting Low

June 12, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — While the Convention and Arena Authority wrestles with paying for the operations of

DeVos Place, Kent
County tussles with making the bond payment to pay for its construction.

To that end, Kent County Fiscal Services Director Robert White recently gave county commissioners some good news and some bad news about meeting that debt.

First, the good news: White told commissioners that lodging receipts to the hotel-motel tax fund were up by nearly 22 percent for the first quarter of the year to $737,471.

The levy, which is a 5-percent tax that is added to a guest's lodging bill, has been marked to pay about $92 million of the construction cost. The payment this year is $4.73 million.

Now for the bad news: Total expenditures to come from the lodging excise fund are expected to reach $6.17 million. That amount includes payouts for administering the account, payments to John Ball Zoo and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the convention center debt payment.

But total revenue to the fund is only expected to be $4.7 million, which will leave the account about $1.43 million short of meeting its obligations. So, commissioners will have to dig into the fund reserve to balance the account, which will drop the reserve to $2.9 million.

"If nothing else occurs, you will be out of fund balance in two years," said White to the board of commissioners. "We need several years of sustained (revenue) growth to build the fund balance back up."    

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