The Charlotte City Council is considering doubling the prepared food and beverage tax to help renovate Panthers stadium, but would the hike have to be so big?

The city has a reserve of unspent money designated for the Charlotte Convention Center.

In addition, the proposed tax increase – a hike in the food and beverage tax from 1 percent to 2 percent – would probably generate more money than the city would need to pay back new debt for the Panthers.

The team has asked the city for $125 million to renovate Bank of America Stadium. The team told council members in a closed session meeting Monday night that the total cost of renovations would exceed $200 million, and that it will probably also ask the state for financial help.

Council members gave an early endorsement Monday night to the plan. They voted 7-2 in closed session to see if the General Assembly would support an increase in the prepared food and beverage tax, bringing the total dining tax to 9.25 percent.

As council members debate helping the Panthers, the city's Convention Center fund has received little attention, according to council members. Historically, the council has not closely examined Convention Center finances.

Two years ago, the city's annual debt payment on the Convention Center was $22 million. For this fiscal year, that payment has fallen to $15.9 million, because old debt has been retired.

The city and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which manage the center, haven't said how they plan to spend the extra money.