V&T Commission commits money for depot, marketing, bond payment

The V&T Railway Reconstruction Commission voted Monday night to spend $610,000 for marketing, construction of a Virginia City Depot and to cover its bond payments.

Carson City Finance Director Nick Providenti asked for $200,000 from the commission to cover the shortfall in sales tax revenues needed to make the $1.1 million yearly bond payment.

The bonds were sold to finance construction of the historic railway between Carson City and Virginia City.

Until this year, commission chairman Dwight Millard said, sales tax revenues were coming in over the amount needed to make the bond payments. The Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau was building up a surplus and, since the money raised by the one-eighth-cent sales tax can only be used for the V&T, sent $200,000 to the commission.

But Providenti said that with the recession, the city raised only $943,210 from the sales tax in 2009, and this year will be worse.

"If the trend continues, our projected sales tax in (fiscal year) 2010 will leave us about $300,000 short of the debt service on the bonds," Providenti said.

In addition to $100,000 the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau has already committed to the bonds, the city needs $200,000 from the commission.

The commission voted unanimously to send the money directly to the Carson City Finance Department.

The commission also voted to appropriate $160,000 to CCCVB to market this summer's schedule of 96 V&T excursion train rides between the Comstock and the Capital.

The money will pay, among other things, to complete and edit a TV commercial and set up a Web site to centralize ticket purchases.

Commissioners voted unanimously to get CCCVB the money as soon as possible.

Finally, Storey County Manager Pat Whitten asked the commission to return $250,000 in sales tax revenue Storey County has contributed to the railroad reconstruction project over the past few years.

Whitten said Storey has contributed a total of $2.3 million since 1995 when the sales tax there was passed.

The money will help purchase the old Virginia City Freight Depot, which will become the terminal for the railroad.

Whitten said extending the quarter-cent sales tax to fund the depot renovation and extend the tracks to that point is his top priority. Storey officials are also seeking a $350,000 grant to help with the project.

Commissioners approved the funding transfer.

Altogether, that commits about a third of the $1.58 million the commission expects to have available as of the end of this fiscal year.


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