The Indiana House last week passed a bill that would allow Fort Wayne and Allen County to reorganize their convention center authority into a new capital improvements board with the ability to issue bonds and collect tax revenue.

The bill would change the name of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Convention and Tourism Authority to the Allen County-Forth Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers.

The measure shifts all excess revenue from the county’s food and beverage tax to the new capital improvement board. The tax revenue is currently used to pay for debt service for an expansion of the Grand Wayne Convention Center and War Memorial Coliseum. Excess tax revenue — about $400,000 a year, according to reports — is typically used for small capital projects at the coliseum and convention center.

The new measure would allow the excess revenue to be used for capital improvement projects across the county. The food and beverage tax generated nearly $5.5 million last year. The $400,000 in excess revenue will increase to $2 million annually when one set of bonds is paid off in 2011.

All the authority’s debt is scheduled to be paid off by 2025. The bill now heads to the Senate.

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