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In 2018, Lubbock County voters were asked to increase the Hotel Occupancy Tax in order to help fund the construction of a Lubbock County Expo Center. Of those who voted, 65% gave a thumbs up to the project.

At the time voters had an idea of what they were voting on, but nothing was set in stone and that goes for the price of the project as well. Construction still hasn't begun on the project and if the new price tag is accurate, I don't see how construction will start anytime soon.

In June I wrote about this project and the lack of known fundraising numbers and the increase in the price tag for the complete project. In that piece I pointed out that the project was projected to cost $50 million dollars in February of 2021. In June, that price tag had moved to $60 million dollars. According to reports this week, the board behind the Lubbock County Expo Center are projecting a final cost of $120.5 million dollars. That is more than double the initial cost that was told to voters. Some have speculated that some of the increase in cost could be due to the increasing cost of construction that we have seen over the last year. But no official reason has been given as to why costs have increased so much.

Even with the project being broken into phases, the first phase will reportedly cost $90 million dollars. In the past, Lubbock County Commissioners have said that construction won't begin until the money is raised and is in the bank. So how much has been raised for the Lubbock County Expo Center? We don't really know. In May of 2019, the HOT tax was about to go into effect and Lubbock County Commissioner Jason Corely told KFYO that the venue tax could bring in $30 million dollars and that the rest of the project would have to be funded privately. That's when the estimated cost was $50 million. That was also before the pandemic hit.

It was reported by KCBD on Wednesday that Lubbock County Commissioners were told on December 13 that they had $5.5 million in the bank collected by the HOT tax. That doesn't mean they will only get $5.5 million in bonds, but private fundraising will be needed in order to begin construction. How much is needed? We still aren't sure and LCEC board hasn't released any fundraising details.

Those behind the Lubbock County Expo Center still say publicly that they want to start construction in Spring of 2022, but I don't see how that happens.

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