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FedExForum renovation funding agreement set with city, Memphis Tourism

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(The Center Square) – Memphis and the city’s convention and visitors bureau came to an agreement over hotel-motel tax funds for the renovation of the FedExForum but details of the agreement were not released.

Rep. Kevin Vaughn, R-Collierville, said that the agreement means that the funding is in place to complete the renovation.

Senate Bill 2711 and House Bill 2868 were put on hold last week before the groups reached an agreement on the taxes.

The bills allow Shelby County and Memphis to change the allocation of hotel-tax funds but does not change the tax rate.

Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association President Wayne Tabor told the Senate State and Local Government Committee last week that FedExForum renovations have a $60 million funding gap and are looking to get all of that from hotel taxes that currently go to Memphis Tourism.

The Tennessee Legislature contributed $350 million in last year’s budget for renovations at the FedExForum and Liberty Bowl.

Memphis Tourism is currently funded through the 8.5% hotel-motel tax in Shelby County. It is set to receive $12.3 million of the estimated $17.5 million that will be collected in 2023-24, according to the Daily Memphian.

An adjustment to the allocation of those funds would cap Memphis Tourism at receiving 61.2% of the overall hotel-motel tax collections moving forward.

The state legislative bill would allow Shelby County to make that change.

“This is the last dollars into the fund,” Vaughan said. “This should lock up the Grizzlies for the next few decades.”

Vaughan said the deal only happened because of the “graciousness of the convention and visitors bureau.”

Memphis Tourism has $27 million in reserves, with $9 million of that funding allocated to expenses. The group’s annual budget is $14 million, according to the Daily Memphian.

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