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CASPER, Wyo. — City of Casper officials are allocating about $1.11 million to subsidize the Ford Wyoming Center in the fiscal year 2024 budget.

The city budget year is July 1–June 30.

At a May 24 budget meeting, Zulima Lopez, city parks and rec director, said the total fund subsidy is composed of a net operating loss payment to the management company per contract, plus any expenses borne by the City of Casper — primarily property and assets within the property. 

The projected FY24 subsidy is due to a $920,000 net operating loss payment to the management company and a $131,649 increase in the city’s insurance and bonds expense from FY23, according to a city staff memo.

The proposed FY24 budget for net operating loss payments to OVG360 of $920,000 is a $30,000 reduction from the current fiscal year.

“If you look at the trend their net operating loss has been coming down each year,” Lopez said. “I think they are maximizing efficiency of the operation.”

Below is a chart showing the city’s net operating loss subsidy:

OVG360, formerly Spectra Venue Management, has been under contract for the management of the Ford Wyoming Center since October 2016. In 2022, the Casper City Council extended the management contract with OVG360 for a 10-year term.

The net operating loss is the total deficit OVG360 experiences in the management of the facility based on the obligations outlined in the management agreement, the staff memo states. The net operating loss benchmark is $994,919 and was established based on the average subsidy in the last three years the event center was managed by the City of Casper. 

According to a staff memo, the city’s insurance and bonds expense has increased by 116%. The city bears the cost to insure the building and all the city-owned assets within. 

“This contributes significantly to the FY24 subsidy budget of $1.11 million, which is an increase of $131,649 from the FY23 year-end estimate, the staff memo states.

According to the memo, based on Visit Casper data, Ford Wyoming Center events yielded just over $25 million in economic impact to Casper and Natrona County in 2019. 

“Considering this impact, it is clear the Ford Wyoming Center is critical to the economic vitality of our community,” the memo states.

See the Ford Wyoming Center Fund Subsidy city staff memo here: