KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Today, we're taking a closer look at the city's budget and how a hotel under construction is sucking money from other funds.
The Loews Convention Center is about to open up in April.
The hotel has sprung up in the last year and it took a lot of incentives to get it there. Now, the city owes Loews a lot of money and could for years to come.
People who live and work downtown are excited about what the Loew's hotel and convention center could bring when it opens in April.
“It's a good project for the city,” Rob Boudreaux said.
“It's going to bring a lot of exposure to downtown,” Corey Egan said.
That promise of development is what persuaded the city council to sign off on millions in incentives when they were approved in 2015, just before Quinton Lucas was elected to the council.
“The way it was supposed to work out was that it would pay for itself,” Lucas said.
However, that turned out not to be the case.
The catering revenue from the hotel going back to the city is projected to fall short and leave a $4.4 million gap.
“The challenge is that we don't even have enough in that dedicated tax fund to cover that deficit, so you're getting the general fund to be a backstop,” Mayor Lucas said. “I think the problem is we had rosier expectations.”
The city could end up covering that gap for the next 20 years.
“The city definitely should have seen it coming,” Egan said before adding, “Hopefully in the long run it’s worth it.”
“It's just reading the fine print,” Boudreaux said. “If you don't like it, don't do it.”
You can see everything the city spends money on and the revenue it collects on its new open budget site, which can be found here.