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Raleigh Officials Look For Ways To Spend Money From Hotel, Restaurant Taxes

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RALEIGH — Raleigh officials and Wake County commissioners are debating how to spend more than $9 million of uncommitted revenues from hotel and restaurant taxes.

Money from Raleigh and Wake County's hotel and restaurant taxes have helped fund the Entertainment and Sports Arena, the BTI Center at Memorial Auditorium and a proposed soccer complex in Cary.

One idea before the Raleigh City Council is that the extra money should fund a new convention center for downtown Raleigh.

"The convention center will bring more people into our community and generate more tax revenue in our community that can be used for some other projects," says Dave Heinl, president of theGreater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Raleigh councilman Kieran Shanahan doubts a new convention center is in the cards.

"I think that it is premature to the point of irresponsible at this juncture to try to put it on the table," Shanahan says. "Let's continue to digest these projects that we have on the table and not try to bite something more than we can chew."

Local leaders say before they can commit to new projects, they must come up with a way of evaluating which one is best.

Shanahan says he would spend the available funds on education.

"My laundry list would start with schools," Shanahan says. "I think we ought to use this money for schools."

The city is already trying to finish the projects that are currently on the way such as the BTI Center, Yates Mill Park and the American Tobacco Trail. "I don't think you will see any more projects being funded by the county or the city until we put in place guidelines for how we are going to accept projects and under what terms will we be able to fund them going forward," Shanahan says. -->


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