It's crunch time for the Evansville City Council as they crunch the numbers ahead of Monday's vote on the hotel project.
Here's how the public funding breaks down as part of the most recent financing package.
The city's direct hotel subsidy will be $7.5 million. The proposed parking garage will cost $5.4 million. The city will also make $3.6 million worth of infrastructure improvements. The Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the approval of the County Council, will contribute $2 million from Innkeepers Tax revenues to pay for upgrades to infrastructure and upgrades at the Centre. The county will contribute $1.5 million for similar upgrades.
That's a grand total of $20 million of public money. But now, Councilman John Friend has a new proposal so the City can get the best bond for it's buck, in light of the county's contributions.
In it's game of Monopoly, the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Walnut St. is the city's 'Park Place' because it's the perfect place to park a convention hotel.
"There's no reason to say no," said Councilman Jonathan Weaver (D-At Large).
The developments in the hotel deal have come at a dizzying pace. It's a far cry from the methodical game of Monopoly.
With newly announced private investment, the public subsidy of the hotel project has dropped significantly from $38 million to $20 million.
"Obviously, I'm more prone to look at it more seriously now because this is an important thing for the city, no question," said City Councilman John Friend (D-5th Ward).
For Councilman Friend, the only question now is how much money the City Council borrow.
As it stands right now, the Evansville City Council will vote Monday night on whether or not to build the hotel by issuing a $20 million bond. But with the county and convention and visitors bureau contributing $3.5 million, Councilman Friend wants the bond not to be $20 million but $16.5 million.
Friend says the proposed bond is bigger than it needs to be and, much like a loan, a bigger bond comes with more interest.
"Why pay that extra interest?' said Councilman Friend. "The payments by the CVB were going to be over five years but we're financing over 25. We're taking their money and going to use it some place else. Look at the companies that have the least amount of debt on their balance sheets. Those are the good companies and that's the same for cities."
When it comes to the hotel project, the city has passed go four times and spent way more than $200.
"You know, it's frustrating," said Councilman Weaver. "A lot of the Council has been around longer than this term so they knew when they build that, the Ford Center, that a hotel was needed also."
Councilman Friend says he's consulting other members of Council and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke to get their thoughts on his proposal.