From the Indianapolis Business Journal:
The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County is prepared to give Pacers Sports & Entertainment another $11 million to offset losses from operating Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
CIB President Ann Lathrop said Wednesday afternoon that the $11 million payment could be delivered in July 2014, after the current agreement with the Pacers expires. All told, the Pacers will receive $21 million from CIB next year, including money it will receive for repairs to be made to the fieldhouse. The CIB board voted 8-0 Wednesday afternoon to approve the funding.
In a July 2010 contract, CIB agreed to give the Pacers $33.5 million over three basketball seasons to offset losses from operating the venue. In December 2012, the CIB extended the contract for another year and gave the Pacers an additional $10 million.
The CIB and the Pacers are negotiating a long-term contract that could keep the team in the city for several more years, Lathrop said. The current lease expires in 2019.
“Both sides are negotiating in very good faith,” Lathrop said. “I feel very confident that between now and the end of the year, we’ll have an agreement.”
The CIB has allotted money to continue supporting the Pacers, but also is under pressure to cut expenses from the city, which faces budget shortfalls into 2014. The CIB is a municipal corporation that manages the fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center.
The additional $11 million CIB is prepared to give the Pacer’s will swell its 2014 operating budget by $35 million from this year’s budget of $80 million, including other expenses.
CIB has earmarked $13.7 million for repairs to the Indiana Convention Center, $10 million in improvements to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and $6.2 million it is expected to give to the city for its share of admissions and auto rental taxes.
In January, the City-County Council approved increases to both the admissions and auto rental taxes.
The admissions tax rose from 6 percent to 10 percent, and the county tax on rental cars increased from 4 percent to 6 percent. Combined with state rental and sales taxes, the total tax on rental cars is 17 percent.
The tax hikes are projected to generate $6.7 million for the city’s general fund this year. In the future, most of the money will flow to CIB.
To cover the $35 million budget increase, CIB will use money from its renewal and replacement account and operating reserves, Lathrop said.