The Coffee County Budget and Finance committee approved on June 16 funds for the operations deficit of the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center in Fiscal Year 2020-2021. The approved amount is $156,370, which is $30,145 higher than the initially approved funds for the current fiscal year. Coffee County and Manchester City equally share the costs for the operations of the facility, meaning the total deficit of the center for the upcoming fiscal year is expected to be $312,740.
Dwight Miller, chairman of the finance and budget committee, briefed the Coffee County Commission on June 23.
“For several years now, we didn’t want to pay as much as the cost was going to be…and the last two years, we ended up (initially appropriating) $126,000 or so to fund the center. And it never ends up that much,” Miller said.
For the last several years, the actual deficit of the center exceeded the funds initially allocated by the county and the city.
“This year, we decided we will agree with the PBA and (approve) the amount they proposed – $156,000 for the next fiscal year,” Miller said.
The Public Building Authority (PBA) is the board that owns and operates the conference center.
If the center’s deficit exceeds the approved amount again, PBA members can ask for additional funds and Coffee County and Manchester City will have to pay. An agreement signed 20 years ago obligates both entities to cover the costs associated with the center. That contract expires on June 30, 2021.
“At that time, we are no longer financially responsible, if we choose to be,” Commissioner Michael Ray said.