The Greater Boise Auditorium voted last week to transfer a big chunk of its rainy day fund to help with a significant decline in revenue. The district’s board voted to approve the transfer of $1.5 million late last week. The fund had $6 million in it before the draw.
Executive director Pat Rice said the money will help make up for the cancellation of all events in the district’s Boise Centre facility, as well as a sharp decline in hotel room tax revenues.
“The money will help us work through the current situation we are going through,” Rice told BoiseDev. “We aren’t having any business in the building, but we still have a number of costs – with no revenue coming in.”
A board memo outlines a number of steps the district will take, including wage and hiring freezes, and a furlough of full time hourly and part time staff.
“Many of the employees can make more money on unemployment, and as a result, they have been furloughed for 90 days,” the board memo notes.
The furloughs will save $800,000. The convention center’s management team and core staff will remain on the payroll and take on increased duties.
Rice said hotel room occupancy in the district dropped to just 6% in recent weeks. The city saw strong hotel occupancy for the first part of the year before the COVID-19 pandemic started impacting the state. All public events in the city remain off limits, and will for quite some time. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said no events for more than 250 people would be allowed, even in stage four of the State of Idaho’s phased reopening plan – which could start next month.
“This is the first phase and it is possible that additional draws may be necessary to support the organization,” the memo notes.