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Chris Jones

Authority to Revise Budget After Windfall

13 April 2005

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board on Tuesday approved plans to revise its current fiscal year budget to take advantage of $25 million in additional room-tax revenue.

When its fiscal 2005 budget was approved last spring, the authority expected to receive approximately $146 million in taxes from guests of Clark County lodging establishments whose stays occurred between July 1, 2004, and June 30.Advertisement

But better-than-expected visitor volume and room rates produced added revenue, and the authority now expects to collect $171 million in room taxes this year.

The updated budget calls for an extra $2.5 million for advertising in three U.S. cities; $5.6 million toward the authority's capital improvement fund; as well as a more than $944,000 payment to reduce long-term debt.

The board also got an advance peek at the authority's tentative budget for fiscal 2006. That document, which will be filed publicly Friday, projects room tax revenue of $183 million; $38.3 million in income from the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center; and $6.5 million from other sources.

Projected expenditures total $187.5 million, up 3 percent from the current fiscal year.

Brenda Siddall, the convention authority's finance director, also said the authority's bond ratings were recently upgraded by both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's.

Thanks in part to those changes, last month's issuance of $160 million in refunding bonds will produce a savings of approximately $785,000 per year over the next 15 years, or nearly $11.8 million.

The new debt replaced a series of revenue bonds issued at higher interest rates in 1999.

In other business Tuesday, the convention authority board:

- Approved Keith Smith, president of Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp., as one the Nevada Resort Association's three appointees to the authority's 13-member board. Smith fills the seat vacated by former Boyd Gaming President Don Snyder, who retired March 31.

In a separate vote, Smith was named chairman of the authority's five-member audit committee.

- Announced plans to build a visitors center in downtown Las Vegas.