The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority last week said it would make fiscal 2010’s $16 million debt-service payment on the $275 million of revenue bonds it issued to finance the $455 million University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Officials, however, said the AZSTA will have to cut back on funding other projects due to an unexpected decline in revenue.
The agency is mostly funded by a tax of 3.25% that Maricopa County levies on hotel rooms and a 1% tax on rental cars.
Revenue bonds that are issued under the sports authority’s credit carry underlying ratings of A-minus from Fitch Ratings and A2 from Moody’s Investors Service.
Revenue for 2010 was expected to be $35 million when the budget was adopted by the board in June, or $3.4 million less than projected expenditures.
However, Tom Sadler, the authority’s chief executive, last week said revenue is now projected at $31.5 million.
The deficit remains at $3.4 million, he said, due to cutbacks enacted since the budget was approved.
Proposition 302, which established the AZSTA as the financing agency for sports and tourism efforts in Maricopa County, was endorsed by county voters in 2000.
It allocated $4 million to tourism in the first year of collections, with the amount going up by 5% each year.
That should result in $5.9 million for tourism in fiscal 2010, but the AZSTA said tourism will receive only $2.4 million this year.
Funding for Major League Baseball spring training facilities was to be $4 million this year, but will drop to $3.6 million.