CIB President: Stadium Could Close If Deal Isn't Reached
Lawmakers Asked To Approve $47M Bailout Plan
6:53 AM, Apr 3, 2009
The head of the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Broad said Friday that if a deal isn't reached on a $47 million bailout bill it's possible Lucas Oil Stadium may close.The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Thursday that would raise several taxes, including those on alcohol statewide, restaurant meals and hotel stays in Marion County and tickets to sporting events in Indianapolis to bail out the organization that manages the city's professional sports facilities.
But the measure faces a tough fight on the Senate floor from lawmakers from the edges of the state who feel they're being asked to bail out Indianapolis.CIB President Bob Grand said Friday that the organization won't have many choices if the Legislature doesn't approve the bill."If you want me to give you worst-cases, I mean the worst-case scenario is we could be out of money and the facilities would be, arguably, closed," he told 6News' Norman Cox.The largest part of the CIB's deficit comes from the higher-than-expected operating costs for Lucas Oil Stadium.The previous board, appointed by then-Mayor Bart Peterson, didn't budget enough money, at least partly because it didn't know how much operating the new stadium would cost.
The CIB now estimates a total of $26 million in operating costs -- $10 million for salaries of stadium workers, $5 million for utilities, $5 million to the Colts and $6 million for other services, such as game-day setup.The bailout bill would double the wholesale tax on beer, wine and spirits, raise local hotel and motel taxes from 9 to 10 percent, boost the food and beverage tax a quarter of a percent and increase the tax on stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse tickets from 6 to 10 percent.The bill also assumes $5 million a year each in contributions from the Colts and Indiana Pacers.Pacers Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson has been upbeat about the NBA franchise's part of the deal, possibly because the Pacers would be able to get out of their current $15 million commitment to operate Conseco Fieldhouse.But the Colts have made no promise to pay anything. Colts President Bill Polian said Thursday that the team would discuss what it might consider paying."We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in the Legislature in taking a look at this problem and in sharing with you data and information that we will make available to you," he said.Debate on the bill will resume next week.