06/24/2002 11:00PM

Churchill to get local tax break


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The city of Louisville has tentatively agreed to a deal with Churchill Downs that will save the track about $250,000 in taxes per year for the next 30 years. The deal should ease the financial uncertainty that recently precluded the company's board from taking expected action on the second phase of the ongoing $130 million renovation of its flagship track.

The major feature of the deal calls for the city to assume the property title at Churchill while leasing it back to the track for $1 a year. Churchill would hold the city free of any liabilities that may arise. Officials for the city and track called the deal satisfactory and advantageous for both sides.

The city's deal is unrelated to the track's current tax affairs with the state of Kentucky, which is having a serious budget crisis. Churchill stands to lose a significant annual tax break with the state if a resolution to the budget impasse cannot be reached.