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Budget Chair Supports Kentucky Kingdom Plan, Questions Bond Details

Members of the Louisville Metro Council are encouraged by Mayor Greg Fischer’s plan to reopen Kentucky Kingdom in 2012, but city lawmakers want to see more details about the investment.Fischer unveiled the proposal Wednesday, which calls for the city to issue $17.5 million in bonds while awaiting a third-party investor to step forward. The city bonds would be backed by parking revenues, occupational taxes, and the new partner.Budget Committee Chair Marianne Butler, D-15, says reopening the park will be an important boost to the local economy, particularly for young people seeking employment over the summer.However, Butler would rather have seen the administration use industrial revenue bonds, which would have been less of a risk for the taxpayers.“General obligation bonds—the city pays them back, the city is obligated there. An industrial revenue bond is what we typically do to help companies such as this and they are the ones that are actually paying the bonds back, but they have our backing with them,” she says.The budget committee will review the plan once the city’s chief financial officer presents it in the coming weeks. Other council members have said the proposal “looks good” but they also want to see more details before committing to the plan.Fischer initially turned down businessman Ed Hart’s proposal for re-opening the theme park, saying the biggest concern for Metro Government was whether the state would contribute to saving the theme park as well.The mayor’s bond plan will be subject to council approval.