Civic Center traffic still leaves it in the red

Civic Center traffic still leaves it in the red
(WALB image)
(WALB image)
(WALB image)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's Civic Center had its strongest month of attendance in May in the last year welcoming 28,000 visitors.

Still, taxpayers will pay $230,000 for fiscal year 2016 to meet the Civic Center budget, plus another $1 million in hotel-motel tax money will be used to subsidize the venue.

City leaders said it's money well spent.

According to numbers from the city employees the Civic Center held 116 events in the last 12 months and close to 97,000 people attended.

"There are very few days and especially very few weekends the civic center goes unused," Holmes.

And it's the weekends the concerts the football games that bring in money from ticket sales.

But there is still a $1.2 million shortfall.

"They don't make money. They are not designed, really, in most communities to make money. They are designed for quality of life," said Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

"By using the hotel-motel tax we've been able to cut the amount of subsidy done by the local taxpayers," said Hubbard.

And supporters said visitors to the community coming to Albany because of events at the Civic Center like today's meeting which drew people from around the state will spend money in Albany.

"If we understand the purpose of the Civic Center, it is not to generate millions of dollars but it is indirectly bringing money to the general fund through gas, hotel, motel, food, restaurants," said Commissioner Bobby Coleman.

Attendance at the Civic Center in May was double compared to the next busiest month in the past year.

That's because of high school graduations, which drew nearly 15,000 people.

In the upcoming fiscal year 2017, WALB reported earlier that the projected income from the Civic Center is expected to be $334,000.  The annual cost to operate the Civic Center is $2.6 million dollars, leaving a deficit of close to $2.3 million dollars.

City finance employees expect they will transfer $1.3 million dollars of hotel-motel taxes in the 2017 fiscal year to cover the Civic Center budget, plus another $500,000 of taxpayer money, totaling $1.8 million dollars of money transferred to make the budget.  The additional gap is considered "depreciation" by city accountants, and taxpayers will not fund that amount. City leaders say they will address capital improvements as necessary and expect to be under budget in fiscal year 2017, as they were under budget in the current fiscal year.

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