Sedgwick County did not track employees' time spent working on Intrust Bank Arena — thought to be worth as much as $2.6 million — hour by hour or person by person, but instead used a formula to estimate the cost.
Commissioners voted earlier this week to move about $1.6 million of sales tax money from the arena's operating and maintenance reserves to the county's general fund to reimburse for what management called the "indirect costs" of building the arena.
The cost allocation study does not break down staff time by person or detail how many hours they spent on arena work. The county hires a consultant each year to prepare such a study.
"We take the formula and use it for cost allocation for all our departments," County Manager William Buchanan said this week.
Buchanan described the formula as a "tried and true agreed upon by the accounting gods... way to allocate costs" of indirect services.
"This process is nationally recognized," he said. "We know it's not spot-on accurate."
The study estimated that the costs through 2008 totaled just more than $1.6 million. Chief financial officer Chris Chronis told commissioners that the total likely would reach $2.6 million when all audits are completed.
Commissioners voted 3 to 2 to move $1.6 million from the arena fund to the general fund. Board member Gwen Welshimer, who is running for re-election, said she would push to charge back the remainder of the money — about another $1 million — hoping to use it to lower property taxes.
The study breaks down costs under these departments through 2008:
* Facility project services, $164,077
* Budget, $178,876
* Purchasing, $515,840
* Accounting, $527,465
* Treasurer, $155,560
* County counselor, $62,291.
No cost was listed for the county manager's office, which includes assistant county manager Ron Holt, who was the project manager for the arena. If he oversaw a purchase, for example, that cost was allocated to the purchasing department.
That department provided a good chunk of the administrative services.
Purchasing director Iris Baker, who has a staff of nine people including herself, said her department handled the bidding for construction and furniture, fixtures and equipment.
"There was plenty of work to go around," she said, adding that employees worked after hours, too. "We did what we need to get it done."