LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - On Wednesday, the University of Kentucky said it plans to sign a long-term lease to keep laying in Rupp Arena. This comes as a Lexington state representative says he has an idea on how to help pay for the cost of renovating Rupp.
State representative Jesse Crenshaw filed House Bill 544. It would give Lexington the authority to raise hotel taxes to pay for a proposed $310 million renovation of Rupp Arena and the Lexington Convention Center. Lexington wants to raise taxes on hotel and motel rooms by 2.5% to 8.5%. That's still lower than Cincinnati, Nashville and Indianapolis. It could generate an extra $3.5 million a year for the city.
If the bill passes this session, the Urban County Council would still have to approve a tax increase. Governor Beshear put $65 million in his budget for the project. The general assembly has until April 15 to approve that.
Our partners at the Herald-Leader say, right now, the city is using part of the hotel tax to pay for the 2004 renovation of Lexington Center even though the project calls for that to be torn down. The city would still owe $18 million.