A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the San Marcos Conference Center in San Marcos, Texas




Tanous, William Brandon

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This study accomplishes three things. First, it presents a detailed discussion of benefit-cost analysis and how public officials use this information to impact and improve capital budgeting decisions. Second, it applies the theory of benefit-cost analysis to a real project: the Conference Center in San Marcos, Texas. Finally, this research pinpoints the motivation behind building the Conference Center and whether city officials used internal analysis to assess need or if the decision was based on perceived indirect benefits and/or other political factors. A discussion detailing benefit-cost analysis identifies how to properly assess the benefits and costs associated with a project using monetary amounts. The conceptual framework links these benefits and costs associated with conference centers to existing scholarly literature. The operationalization of the benefit and cost variables from the conceptual framework are identified, showing how the research measured each variable of the project. To ensure a credible study, an appropriate discount rate and time horizon were used to calculate the viability of the project. The decision criteria of present value and net present value were used to determine the viability of the project. The results of the benefit-cost analysis of the Conference Center project found that the project is not economically viable at either discount rate. However, indirect (external) benefits from the project are expected to economically benefit the City and outweigh the costs of the conference center. This project will be the first of its size in the I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin and is expected to attract business, association, and organizational meetings.


An Applied Research Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science, Texas State University-San Marcos, in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Fall 2007.


benefit, cost, analysis, benefit-cost analysis, San Marcos, Texas, conference center, San Marcos Conference Center, Public Administration


Tanous, W. B. (2007). A benefit-cost analysis of the San Marcos Conference Center in San Marcos, Texas. Masters of Public Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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