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No deadline today for Lancaster convention center bonds

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Bargaining continues regarding adjustments to the debt arrangements of the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority, but negotiators do not have to worry about hitting a deadline today.

Originally, Wells Fargo Bank, the holder of roughly $64 million in bonds used to finance the convention center's construction, was to reset the variable portion of the bond interest rate by today, March 1.

However, that deadline was extended by three months, said Kevin Fry, chairman of the authority's board of directors.

Lancaster County Commissioners Chairman Scott Martin said negotiations are ongoing.

"There is no update," he said last month.

The authority's share of the county hotel tax is supposed to pay the bond debt service, but the tax has not consistently generated enough revenue to do so in full. Concerns are that if Wells Fargo raises the bonds' "risk premium," that could worsen the authority's financial outlook even more.

Martin has proposed a mix of measures that include a rate cut by Wells Fargo of 60 basis points. Other stakeholders have called for raising the hotel tax, but all three commissioners have said they oppose doing so.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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