Negotiations on a contract between Cross Insurance Arena’s trustees and Global Spectrum, a Philadelphia-based arena management company, are dragging but are still expected to be wrapped up in mid-January, the board of trustees chairman says.

Neil Pratt said many of the main issues have been settled, but the talks have bogged down because the trustees are working to find language to fit the legislation creating the county district that oversees the arena. He said lawmakers in the mid-1970s probably never envisioned bringing in an outside firm to run the Portland arena, so the trustees have to craft language that doesn’t violate the district’s supervisory role, while granting authority to the outside managers.

“It’s been tedious,” Pratt said.

Pratt said the delay isn’t likely to cause problems, although trustees had hoped to hand over arena management to Global Spectrum before the end of the year.

Pratt also said he plans to step down as chairman of the trustees next month, but will continue to serve as a board member for at least a few months. He said his three goals as chairman should be accomplished by the time he leaves – overseeing the $35 million arena renovation; reaching a long-term deal with the main sports tenant, the Portland Pirates hockey team; and addressing the management of the arena.