Arena authority approves budget, projects profit

By Jerry Lynott - [email protected]
The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township. The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township. -

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority on Wednesday approved its annual budget and projected an approximate 10% increase in net income from operations compared to last year.

At its monthly meeting at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, authority Chairman Gary Zingaretti focused on the net income entry of $332,115. The prior year’s figure was $303,059 and did not include the non-operating income from the county’s hotel tax that goes toward the payment of the bonds issued for construction of the facility that opened in 1999 and for the county’s tourism bureau.

The hotel tax is budgeted to bring in $2.4 million in revenue this year. When factored in with other non-operating revenue, expense and depreciation, the budget projects a net income of $729,777 compared to $759,030 for 2019.

Zingaretti noted that the budget includes the naming rights contract, the lease with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey franchise, the management contract ASM Global and the new food and beverage agreements.

“We feel this accurately represents all the contractual changes and there’s certainly some things that will still need to play out as we’re in the first year of this contract to see how everything goes,” Zingaretti said.

The much anticipated WiFi project is moving closer to actual installation of the custom-made system, said Donna Cupinski, chairwoman of the authority’s Capital Improvements & Strategic Planning Committee.

“All the equipment is on order. There’s stuff that (Turn-Key Technologies Inc. does) at their home office to prep for this, so they’re not on site yet. But we anticipate them being on site in February,” Cupinski said.

The authority also approved several other expenditures:

• Hiring an engineering and architectural firm at a cost not to exceed $50,000 for future projects that are expected to be funded by state grants. The grants would cover the cost of hiring the firm, Zingaretti said.

• A new computer server at a cost not to exceed $20,000.

• A new digital mix board at a cost not to exceed $3,500 to replace the 20-year-old, analog mixing board for the portable sound system.

The authority unanimously voted 10-0 to retain its leadership for this year: Zingaretti, chairman; Cupinski, vice chairman; Tony Ryba, treasurer; and Tom Woods, secretary. Ryba did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.

After adjourning the meeting the authority met in an executive session to discuss a personnel matter, Zingaretti said.

The authority’s next meeting will be at noon on Feb. 12.

The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/web1_Arena.cmyk_.jpgThe Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township.

By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.