Ron Holt

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2016 is $4,293,901

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2016 is $4,293,901

As in years past, a truthful accounting of the finances of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita shows a large loss. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. An example: In February 2015 the Wichita Eagle reported: "The arena’s net income for…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2015 is $4.1 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2015 is $4.1 million

The depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters cite a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing is depreciation expense. There hasn't been much talk…
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Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2014 is $5 million

Intrust Bank Arena loss for 2014 is $5 million

The depreciation expense of Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita recognizes and accounts for the sacrifices of the people of Sedgwick County and its visitors to pay for the arena. But no one wants to talk about this. The true state of the finances of the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita are not often a subject of public discussion. Arena boosters promote a revenue-sharing arrangement between the county and the arena operator, referring to this as profit or loss. But this arrangement is not an accurate and complete accounting, and hides the true economics of the arena. What's missing…
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Sedgwick County keeps lease agreement secret

A few months ago in March, SMG, the company that is managing the Intrust Bank Arena (formerly known as the downtown Wichita arena) signed a lease with the Wichita Thunder Hockey team. Details of that lease weren't made available to the public. Not to Sedgwick County Commissioners, either. So the public and even elected government officials don't know anything about this contract, except for its term of five years. This strikes me as bad government. The county has a deal with SMG that gives the management company broad latitude in operating the arena, including some profit-and-loss responsibility. The arena, however,…
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Hartman Arena ribbon cutting today

Today was the ribbon cutting ceremony for Hartman Arena in Park City, just north of Wichita. This privately-owned arena should provide some competition to the Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. Note the wind turbine to the right (north) of the building. Normally the announcement of a facility like this would be welcomed by government officials. That wasn't the case two years ago when this arena was announced. At that time Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh said he would prefer that this arena not be built. Assistant Sedgwick County Manager Ron Holt said "overall, it would not be in the…
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Articles of Interest

Education reform, downtown Wichita arena, Kansas smoking ban, downtown developers Education’s Ground Zero (Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times) Describes the efforts of Washington D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee to reform the system. She's fired one-third of the principals. Kristof reminds us of the importance of teachers: "The reform camp is driven partly by research suggesting that great teachers are far more important to student learning than class size, school resources or anything else. One study suggests that if black kids could get teachers from the profession’s most effective quartile for four years in a row, the…
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Government vs. private investment and the downtown Wichita arena

A Wichita businessman proposes building an arena that, while not as large as the downtown Wichita arena being built by Sedgwick County, would provide some competition to the government-owned arena. Normally, private investment is welcomed. If you believe in limited government as I do, it is vastly preferred to government spending. But if you're a Sedgwick County Commissioner getting ready to spend some $200 million in sales tax collections on a government arena, it seems that competition from the private sector isn't welcome. As reported in The Wichita Eagle: Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Dave Unruh said he would prefer Hartman…
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Legislative Delegation, Saturday February 5, 2005

On Saturday February 5, 2005 I attended the meeting of the local legislative delegation regarding the arena tax. Representative Tom Sawyer chaired the meeting. The audience wrote questions on notecards, and Representative Brenda Landwehr read them. To the best of my recollection, the people allowed to answer questions were Sedgwick County Commissioner Tom Winters, Sedgwick County Assistant County Manager Ron Holt, Sedgwick County Director of Finance Chris Chronis, Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans, and Wichita Downtown Development Corporation President Ed Wolverton. All of these are arena supporters. No one with an opposing view was allowed to speak, except for near the…
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