On Thursday, Monroe County commissioners cleared a key hurdle for using part of the county government’s share of the 1-percent food and beverage tax, to pay for debt on the convention center and the center’s management expenses.
By the end of its hour-long meeting, the seven-member food and beverage tax advisory commission (FABTAC) had recommended that up to $300,000 of the county’s food and beverage fund balance could be spent on convention center debt and management.
Historically, it has been innkeeper’s tax revenues that have been used to pay the convention center debt service. The innkeeper’s tax is 5-percent charge on lodging in the county.
But innkeeper’s tax revenues have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food and beverage revenues are also a bit down due to the pandemic, but not by as much. That’s why commissioners wanted the flexibility to use some of the more than $600,000 in the food and beverage fund balance to pay towards the annual debt service on the convention center. The annual debt service is $636,000.
The specific mention of the $300,000 in FABTAC’s approval was different from the original wording of the request made to the FABTAC by county commissioners. Commissioners had voted in the first week of the year to ask for consideration from the FABTAC.
In their request, the three-member board of commissioners had asked to use “any and all funds” in the county’s food and beverage tax fund.
Except for wrangling over the difference in wording, the meeting probably could have been wrapped up in under a half hour. Continue reading “Advisory group OKs food and beverage tax money for convention center debt”