The terms of Spectra Event Management’s takeover of Casper Events Center were approved Tuesday at a special city council meeting.
Spectra will take over on Oct. 1 for a five-year term to be extended in five-year increments through agreement of both parties.
“It was a challenging contract to negotiate,” said City Manager V.H. McDonald. “I almost don’t want to thank the other side.”
The city will pay Spectra an annual $130,000 management fee in addition to a one-time payment of $78,000 for “transition costs,” according to McDonald. Spectra will receive 3 percent of any food sales at the venue and 15 percent of commercial sales.
Part of the goal of turning over management of the Events Center to private hands was to reduce the roughly 1 million subsidy the venue requires from the city each year. While the city will continue to pay $994,000 per year to cover operating expenses, Spectra is incentivized to reduce the subsidy.
The company will receive 20 percent of any reduction in the required subsidy.
The fate of current Events Center employees was a point of concern after news of the privatization plan was made public, but all existing workers are being hired on by Spectra.
Eleven of those employees were honored at the council session Tuesday before members voted to approve the contract; mayor Daniel Sandoval noted that they had 116 combined years of service.
Council member Kenyne Humphrey asked the employees whether any were taking pay cuts, and they said no.
McDonald said they would also be immediately enrolled in Spectra’s benefits program with credit for years served.
The city will retain ownership of the Events Center, which was built in 1982. McDonald noted in a work session before the vote that the city had installed safeguards to ensure that.
Plans to privatize the Events Center began last fall after longtime general manager Bud Dovala announced his retirement. City officials hope Spectra will be better able to attract touring acts to Casper.