Originally created 05/27/98

Civic center looks to increase revenue



Leisure Management International, which operates the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center and the adjacent Bell Auditorium, is projecting the complex's largest revenues since 1993.

Despite construction of the civic center's ice floor -- which will wipe out bookings in the facility for most of the summer -- revenues next fiscal year are expected to increase by $520,771 over the current year.

The new budget year begins July 1 and a little more than $1.7 million in revenue is expected. The increases are because 35 home games scheduled for the Augusta Lynx, the city's new minor league hockey team which begins play in the fall.

"We just added 35 hockey games," civic center general manager Pat Cumiskey said Tuesday. "We're going to be jumping."

Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority members Tuesday postponed in-depth discussions of the agency's spending plan for the coming budget year. Authority chairman Bill Maddox said he felt everyone hadn't had enough time to study the figures.

So authority members will hash over the budget during a special meeting at 9 a.m. Monday.

While revenues in the new budget are projected to increase, expenses are also expected to go up approximately $500,000 to roughly $2.3 million, officials said.

"We got a right big increase in that budget," said Mr. Maddox, who said he was concerned because "we only get so much money from the hotel-motel tax." The civic center is funded annually by about $2 million in hotel-motel sales taxes and beer excise taxes.

Also on Monday's agenda is a review of Leisure Management's two-year contract, which took effect Feb. 1, 1997. The firm has an option for a two-year extension that authority members must approve by July 1, or the option will automatically kick in.

"I have no reason to believe it won't be extended," Mr. Cumiskey said.