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Council Asked For $4M In Virus Relief Funds For Convention Center And PAC Needs, Restoring Reserves

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Matt Trotter
/
KWGS

The Tulsa City Council has been asked to approve transferring $4 million from a pandemic relief fund to cover some areas where the city is coming up short.

A convention and tourism facilities fund, which covers the Cox Business Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, would get $2.3 million.

The venues have largely been dark during the COVID-19 pandemic. City Chief Financial Officer James Wagner said they still have some basic costs, like utilities and minimal staffing, that the city allocated funds for, but a significant chunk of that money comes from lodging tax revenue that’s dipped during the pandemic.

"It’s just essentially keeping things going there until those facilities can start having earned revenue and until the hotel/motel tax recovers fully, which I don’t think we’re really even close to that yet," Wagner told councilors last week.

The request puts $1.9 million toward the lodging tax revenue shortfall and $400,000 toward repairing flood damage at the PAC.

The other $1.7 million in pandemic relief funds would go the general fund, with most of it going to replenish the city’s economic stabilization reserve and $200,000 going to the Working In Neighborhoods Department for nuisance abatement work.

Not all of Tulsa’s coronavirus relief funding allocated to it by the state has been spent.

"So far, there’s been about $22.8 million that have been appropriated from that fund. This is another $4 million from it. So, this would be a total of $26.8 million, and that leaves a balance of about $4 million remaining that’s unappropriated," Wagner said.

An amount of funding from the new COVID relief package signed into law last week by President Joe Biden has not been determined.

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