- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

RALSTON, Neb. (AP) - Ralston officials say the city’s 3-year-old arena is on the path to better times, but recent numbers show it continued to lose money last fiscal year.

The city’s annual auditor’s report shows the arena lost $2.5 million on combined operations and debt service during fiscal 2015, which ended Sept. 30.

The loss was an increase from the $2.2 million the previous year, the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1sFAiUs ) reported.

City leaders acknowledge the most recent fiscal year’s loss but say those numbers don’t show the full picture.

The city raised property taxes, instituted a restaurant tax and made spending cuts across all departments to cover the arena’s losses last fall. In the Nebraska Legislature session this spring, lawmakers offered Ralston a way to collect more tax revenue for the arena.

Ralston officials plan to cut operational deficits by boosting the amount of turnback tax revenue from the state, which helps pay off construction bonds.

General manager Stan Benis said the arena’s operations have earned a profit so far this year. But he said the summer months tend to be a difficult time.

Mayor Don Groesser said he’s especially focused on the arena’s operating deficit. Arena operations in fiscal 2015 posted a deficit of more than $622,000, slightly better than the more than $652,000 lost the previous year, according to the auditor’s report.

Last year’s operating deficit would’ve been half as much if it weren’t for a $319,000 construction bill left over.

Even so, “that is a loss, and I’ve got to figure out how to stop that year after year after year,” Groesser said

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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