Yum! Center Funds Fall Short

The upcoming opening of the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., could include a surprise for taxpayers in the city – an extra $3.3 million in costs to pay for the building.

Louisville officials reportedly expected to raise $4.5 million in sales taxes last year to help pay for the $238 million arena.

But tax projections fell short in the weak economy, with just $678,000 generated toward the project in 2009.

“If the sales tax doesn’t rebound, then you can bet your boots that the [city’s] guaranteed maximum is probably going to be asked for,” Louisville Arena Authority chair Jim Host told the Courier-Journal.

Louisville dedicated $10.8 million per year to pay for the Yum! Center. After the arena opens next month, payments for the venue are expected to rise to $19 million annually and the city may have to come up with the additional $3.3 million to cover costs by 2012.

While city council president Tom Owen called the tax shortcomings “a serious concern,” Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson is reportedly “optimistic that we are in recovery, that we are seeing those initial signs of getting back to where we are in terms of developers making investments in the downtown,” a spokesperson told the paper.