LVCVA, buoyed by rising revenue, approves $273.2 million budget

Buoyed by a fifth straight year of increased revenue, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Thursday approved a $273.2 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

Directors voted unanimously to approve the budget that includes plans to spend $91 million for advertising, $9 million for special events, $74.7 million for capital expense projects and add five employees.

The total budget is 2 percent greater than the 2014 plan, thanks primarily to a 4 percent boost in room taxes and gaming fees.

The board zipped through the budget discussion and public hearing in less than an hour. No one spoke at the public hearing.

“It’s a period of stability and recovery for us,” said Rana Lacer, senior vice president of finance for the authority.

The entity that markets Las Vegas and is charged with filling Clark County’s more than 150,000 hotel rooms every night expects to collect $223.5 million in room taxes and gaming fees in the fiscal year. Room taxes account for 81 percent of the authority’s revenue.

The authority will collect $46.7 million in facility use fees, down 5 percent from the current year, and $2.8 million in other fees, down 12 percent from 2014.

The decline in the facility use charges is attributed to show rotation — a huge trade show, ConExpo-Con/Agg, was in Las Vegas in 2014, but only meets once every three years. The decline in other fees is a result of McCarran International Airport chipping in $400,000 to the authority this year to boost international air development sponsorships during last fall’s World Routes aviation conference.

The $91 million the authority plans to spend for advertising is a 2.2 percent decline from what’s being spent this year. The advertising budget includes production costs as well as ad buys. The authority contracts with Las Vegas-based R&R Partners on advertising, one of the largest slices of the budget pie.

The capital projects budget is a 78 percent increase in spending over the current year as the authority gears for land acquisitions and construction on its Las Vegas Global Business District. The authority is pushing $32.8 million in salaries and employee benefits for the district project.

The authority also will tackle several upkeep projects on existing facilities at the Convention Center and Cashman Center, including repairs to parking lots and roadway fixes that haven’t been addressed in 13 years.

There are no plans for any additional debt taken on by the authority in 2015. It has 12 outstanding bond issues and carries $623.7 million in debt with maturity dates ranging from the 2020 fiscal year to the 2044 fiscal year.

The authority will add five employees in the next fiscal year — all perimeter security officers. Historically, security officers have been part-time positions.

The new positions will bring the workforce to 515. Racer said that’s still well below the staffing level the authority had before the Great Recession.

At the peak of employment, the authority provided 572 jobs.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.