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City Council OKs Grand Wayne budget

City Council members unanimously endorsed budgets for the Grand Wayne Center and the Capital Improvements Board on Tuesday, putting their stamp of approval on $6 million worth of spending.

The board that oversees the Grand Wayne Center approved the $4,961,593 budget for 2013 on Nov. 20. The state requires the City Council to approve the budget, as well.

Officials from the convention center said they expect to spend 5percent more than the $4,713,000 expected in revenue, but the difference will be made up from cash reserves, which are currently about $4.1 million.

The approximately $250,000 difference between spending and revenue comes from the $250,000 a year officials pledged toward the hotel and parking garage at Harrison Square, said Grand Wayne board President Ben Campbell said. The budget calls for operating expenses to remain flat compared with what was budgeted for 2012.

Campbell said the Grand Wayne hosted 46 conventions in 2012, second only to the 54 it hosted in 2011.

Executive Director Bob Lister said officials expect 2013 to be another record year, with conventions for the Lions Club, the Farm Bureau and a massive, 10-day Vera Bradley national sales convention that had previously been held in Florida. That event is so large and so important to Vera Bradley, Grand Wayne officials have said, that they sent staffers to the event in Florida to learn how the company wants things done.

The council also approved the 2013 budget for the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers, which oversees use of the food and beverage tax. That budget calls for making $1million in disbursements next year toward economic development projects and spending $100,000 on administration, the same as was budgeted for 2012. None of that 2012 administrative budget has been spent, however, and Campbell said he expects none of it will be spent in 2013, either.

Council members also voted unanimously to hold for two weeks a non-binding resolution proposed by John Shoaff, D-at large, calling for greater public participation in the planning process for road projects. Mayor Tom Henry's administration has proposed several changes to the resolution and officials expect to work out an agreement in that time period.