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Arena board terminates program manager, and does other stuff

The three-member board overseeing Lincoln’s construction of a new arena in a railyard west of downtown cut loose the company that has been in charge of the whole deal up to now.

Read the background story here.

The Joint Public Agency:

• Ended its contract with a Virginia company that had been serving as program manager for the whole $340 million arena project, SAIC. Marvin and the mayor said SAIC was terminated because they decided the management structure was just too top-heavy and this is a way to save money on management. Mayor Chris Beutler thanked SAIC for their services and said a “good-sized engineering consortium,” city engineers and SAIC’s subcontractor, PC Sports, can handle things. Then the JPA approved a new contract with PC Sports that makes it the interim program manager while the city negotiates a permanent contract with the company.

• Was told that the last in a series of three bonds to finance the arena project — $100 million in tax-exempt bonds — will likely be issued on Aug. 9. The city’s investment advisor expects the JPA will pay a little higher interest rate than on the first two issuances, at 4.5 percent, compared to 3.25 and 3.75 percent. The City Council votes on the issuance on July 25.

• Approved a new one-year management contract with former Councilman Dan Marvin – who is the city’s arena go-to guy – that gives him a 4 percent raise to $88,150 per year.

• Was asked to approve the purchase of the Watson-Brickson lumber yard for $481,000 plus $314,000 in moving costs and $121,000 for racking expenses. However, JPA board member Tim Clare, a UNL regent, refused to approve the purchase agreement because the figures were wrong on his copy. The closing is scheduled for July 19.

Clare said this has happened before – documents are incomplete or have errors – and he has said “I’m not gonna do it.”

“I’m happy to stay here until midnight if that’s what it takes,” he said. Eventually, the paperwork was put in order and approved.

So the JPA continued on with its agenda and then went into recess while officials scurried to get the paperwork in order for his approval.

• Approved a $24,000 change order for work on the 10th and Salt Creek Roadway double roundabouts, and a $589,000 change order because the city is unable to get to the fill it had planned to use to bring the arena pad up to grade, because BNSF won’t let trucks drive over its temporary crossing because it could be damaged.


Enough speculation, who’s your favorite for U.S. Senate?

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Journal Star owner tries to avoid bankruptcy

Bloomberg News has the story about how the Iowa company that owns the Lincoln Journal Star and 52 other newspapers is trying to avoid bankruptcy by haggling with lenders to restructure $1 billion in debt. Moody’s is saying it’s critical that Lee refinance.
According to Bloomberg, Lee’s advertising revenue fell 9 percent last year.
The company is also in danger of losing its listing on the New York Stock Exchange after its average share price fell below the $1 minimum threshold for 30 days.

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