New Hampshire government should pay off a $372,000 deficit in a capital fund used for paying bond interest and principal, New Hampshire Treasurer Catherine Provencher said.
Provencher was speaking of the Cannon Mountain Capital Improvement Fund. The fund’s bonds pay for capital projects at the state-owned ski area in Franconia Notch State Park, about 60 miles north of Concord, N.H.
The fund’s shortfall can be traced to a decision to lease the Mount Sunapee ski area to a private operator in 1999. A portion of the revenues from the operator have been directed to the Cannon fund to pay off its bonds.
While bonds have been issued for various capital projects at Franconia Notch over the years, the revenue stream has not always been sufficient to cover debt service, Provencher told the New Hampshire Sunday News.
The bonds are New Hampshire’s general obligation and have been paid and will continue to be paid on time, Provencher told The Bond Buyer.
Ironically, the state’s ski area at Cannon generates a profit. However, that profit is used to cover the expenses at other parks that do not generate revenue. In the current fiscal year, Cannon is transferring $650,000 to the state parks.
Provencher is proposing that some of the profits from Cannon’s ski operations be diverted to pay off its capital fund’s deficit over five years. Also in the future, Provencher says that the operating profits should cover any shortfall in payments from Mount Sunapee to the Cannon capital fund.
Provencher said these changes should be made to the budget currently being prepared for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.