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Allegiant Stadium room tax still hurting from effects of pandemic

The room tax generating funds for the public share of Allegiant Stadium’s financing is still being significantly affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

February saw $1.2 million in room tax revenue generated via a 0.88 percent tax on hotel rooms in Clark County. That’s down 70 percent from February 2020’s total of $3.9 million, according to Las Vegas Stadium Authority data.

The total revenue collected so far in fiscal year 2021, which began July 1, sits at $9.9 million and is 71 percent behind the $33.8 million generated during the same period last year.

“The Las Vegas Stadium Authority continues to monitor incoming room tax revenues in relation to future debt service payments and potential withdrawals from the debt reserve,” authority spokesman Brian Haynes said in an email. “Room tax revenue has declined significantly amid travel reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while public health conditions have improved and visitation has begun to recover, room tax revenues remain at about a third of pre-pandemic levels.”

Since its inception in March 2017, the stadium’s room tax has generated $164.6 million through February.

Bond payments are made twice annually, once in June and the other in December, to pay for the majority of the public’s $750 million contribution to constructing the stadium.

The stadium authority anticipated the revenue dip and budgeted for $19 million in debt reserve withdrawals to meet debt service obligations during the fiscal year, Haynes said.

Of that budgeted total $11.6 million was used from the debt reserve fund to make the scheduled $16.1 million bond payment in December. As it stands, the stadium authority anticipates having to pull $7.4 million from the debt reserve to make the scheduled $18.6 million bond payment in June.

“That withdrawal is budgeted at $7.4 million, though the actual amount will vary depending on actual receipts of room tax revenue at the time the payment is due,” Haynes noted.

The debt reserve balance sits at $66.2 million and was set up to be at $90.2 million at full capacity, or enough to cover two years of full debt service if no money was being generated by room tax.

Moody’s Investment Service noted in December that Clark County’s credit rating wasn’t impacted by the reserve draw and that the remaining balance of the rainy day fund remained sufficient even if room tax revenue continued to fall behind expectations.

Haynes noted the amount already in the fund is more than enough to cover the $35.4 million in debt service payments scheduled for fiscal year 2022.

Money left over in the construction trust also will go toward paying for the stadium bonds once all project payments are complete.

“The stadium authority has more than $9 million in excess balance in the construction trust account due to investment earnings on the initial bond proceeds deposit,” Haynes said.”That excess balance will be transferred to Clark County to be applied to a future debt service payment on the stadium bonds.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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