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Will SLOC balance budget by April?

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The 2002 Winter Games will have a balanced budget by next April, SLOC's chief operating officer promised a legislative oversight committee.

"At this point we are in very healthy shape, although we still have work to do," Fraser Bullock told the Legislature's Olympic Coordination Committee on Monday.

That work includes closing a budget shortfall of $76 million. Bullock said organizers can expect to sell as much as another $20 million in corporate sponsorships and make about that much in further budget reductions.

The rest of the shortfall will likely be made up from SLOC's contingency fund, now at $140 million. What's not yet certain is whether organizers will meet their goal of selling $180 million in tickets to the Games and getting $140 million from the federal government.

By next April, though, Bullock said the Salt Lake Organizing Committee should know where it stands financially. Tickets go on sale to the public Oct. 10, and the federal budget for the upcoming year should be approved this fall.

He and SLOC President Mitt Romney have already struggled for more than a year to bring the budget under control in the wake of the bribery scandal surrounding Salt Lake City's Olympic bid.

In August 1999, the budget was down to $1.33 million. Now it's at $1.31 billion. More telling is the decline in the size of the budget shortfall, from $379 million in March 1999, to $179 million in August 1999 before falling to $76 million.

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com