Las Vegas Stadium Authority OKs budget

23 May 2017

With its heavy lifting done on the Raiders stadium lease, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority attended to procedure this morning, approving its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The authority will be funded through a hike in the hotel room tax authorized by the Nevada Legislature in October to back the $1.9 billion stadium project.

Its budget for fiscal 2018 includes an estimated $14 million in collections from the remainder of fiscal 2017 and $50 million for the upcoming year. Board Chairman Steve Hill said quarterly updates will be provided with more details on the budget.

The tax increase imposed to raise $750 million toward the public portion of stadium funding went into effect in March.

Collections have come in ahead of projections, with $8.4 million acquired in the first two months, beating estimates by about $500,000. The tax adds an average of $1.50 per room night for stays on the Strip.

“It’s nice to be in line or slightly ahead of our expectations,” said Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis, who works as authority staff.

Aguero said May is projected as one of the best months for collections by the authority’s calculations, which draw on historical visitation data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Hill, however, cautioned not to read too much into the financial success of the first couple of months.

“Two months don’t really make much of a trend, but it’s better to start ahead than behind,” said Hill, who noted that projections were intended to be conservative. “We did not want to overestimate in order to inflate the numbers and make it look easier than it potentially could be.”

The budget sets aside $2 million for the operation of the authority, with the remainder of the funding going toward construction of the stadium. According to information on the stadium authority website, room tax collections will be used either to pay project costs directly, or Clark County will issue stadium bonds on behalf of the authority that will be secured by the room tax.

Groundbreaking on the stadium is scheduled for the end of the year at the 62-acre Russell Road site purchased earlier this month by the Raiders for $77.5 million.

NFL owners will consider the Raiders stadium lease Tuesday at their spring meetings in Chicago. Owners must approve the lease between the authority and the Raiders stadium events company.

The authority board voted unanimously in favor of the 30-year lease Thursday, after earlier concern that missing last week’s deadline could set the Raiders move back by a year to 2021.

If the lease is approved as expected, Hill said, the next priorities for the authority and the Raiders will be the UNLV joint-use agreement, community benefits agreement and development agreement. Hill also anticipates the personal-seat license agreement, leasehold mortgage agreement and stadium transfer agreement to move quickly in the coming weeks.