At a press conference today, finance minister Ivan Miklos gave his response to the request of Bratislava mayor, Milan Ftacnik, for additional funding to complete the ice hockey stadium in Bratislava for the World Ice Hockey Championships 2011.
Basically, Miklos announced that there would be no more free money, but that the government was willing to provide the city of Bratislava with a 5-year loan of EUR 12 million with interest of 3.5%.
Mayor Ftacnik declared last week that an additional EUR 25 million was required to pay off certain liabilities and to pay for the completion of the stadium, which should host the IIHF 2011 World Championship starting 29 April. Now Ftacnik says EUR 30 million is required.
Miklos questions whether the money used to date has been used effectively and if reconstruction of the stadium was not overcharged. . The government put up EUR 40 million for the stadium, which works out at just over 54% of the initially projected costs of EUR 74.822 million.
Both the Ministry of Finance and Bratislava City Hall have agreed that an extensive audit should be conducted by the Supreme Audit Office (NKU) to investigate just how the money has been spent so far.
Former Bratislava mayor Andrej Durkovsky undertook not to request additional financing from the government, but in order to avoid another fiasco like that of the Deaflympics this month, Ftacnik eventually conceded that help was needed.
Ftacnik said that the city could handle the EUR 12 million loan because it is spread over five years, as the city has an annual budget of around EUR 280 million, but that the city would have to tighten its belt anyway.
Ftacnik will still have to conjure up the remaining EUR 18 million or so from somewhere, however, with the games due to start in just 63 days time.