There is no looking back, there is only looking forward.
That was the message from City Manager Jacque Betz at the start of the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Florence Events Center Committee early this month. Nine citizens and four city staff members comprise the group that will be delving into new ways to improve the center’s financial bottom line.
“There is no one here who is against the FEC. There is no blame. There is no looking back to what went wrong, and there are no right or wrong answers as we go through this process,” Betz said. “Everything is on the table. I think we all can be forward-thinking with the goal of finding sustainable funding for the FEC.”
That forward-thinking is sought as the FEC could be facing a serious deficit by 2015-2016 as revenues from transient room taxes (TRT) have shrunk, fewer ticket sales were made in the tight economy, and competition heats up from big attraction Three Rivers Casino and Hotel.
The city could also struggle to meet payments in its debt service.
When the center was built in 1994, Lane County agreed to contribute $4 million over a 20-year period toward the debt payments. Then the city refinanced the center in 2004, when interest payments were running low, explained city Finance Director Erin Reynolds. For the complete article see the 05-11-2013 issue.
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