Fort Wayne-Allen County Capital Improvement Board (CIB) President James Cook briefed City Council on Nov. 24 about the impact of COVID-19 on food and beverage taxes. Then Grand Wayne Center Executive Director Bart Shaw talked about the $1.3 million the center lost this year from canceled events, again due to COVID-19.

The CIB directs disbursement disbursement of the Allen County Supplemental Food & Beverage Tax, and also oversees the operations of the Grand Wayne Convention Center.

The CIB's 2021 budget is based on revenues of $4.6 million and disbursements of $5.3 million, putting the fund at $713,807 in the hole.

Total revenue for 2020 was budgeted at $6 million, but that is now projected to be $3.2 million. Revenue for 2021 is projected to be $4.6 million. 

"We were heavily impacted at the Grand Wayne Center by COVID," Cook said, adding that the bright spot is that they quickly adapted. He said the food and beverage tax didn't drop off as much as expected.

Shaw told council members he had predicted a 60% revenue loss from 2019 and that's "about where we're going to end up."

That  $1.3 million loss is still significant, though, he said, but they have $6 million in a reserve fund that can be used to help.

"We will have a subcommittee of the board to manage the deficit," he said.

Visit Fort Wayne, The Fort Wayne/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the nonprofit organization whose purpose is to expand Fort Wayne's economy by attracting convention and leisure visitors. Each year, millions of dollars from visitor spending generate increased commerce, sustained jobs and enhancement of Fort Wayne's image.

They expect a $276,909 deficit for 2021, which will be covered by reserve funds.

Council passed both budgets.

In other council news:

Councilmen Glynn Hines, D-at large, and Tom Didier, R-3rd, withdrew their bill stating council would use its investigative powers to ascertain what happened to the Electric Works deal that collapsed in August. But with the project back on track, they deemed it no longer necessary.

A bill that would allow a zoning change to establish an indoor shooting range at the old Babies R Us store at 4140 Coldwater Road was held for two weeks due to concerns over its location across from Glenbrook Square and the possibility that the noise from the range might be heard by people coming and going from the mall. 

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