The frantic process of hammering out a financing plan for a new downtown sports arena has reached its most pivotal day.

Sacramento city officials said Tuesday night they remain on track to release a plan Thursday that will lay out how they intend to pay for an arena at the site of the Downtown Plaza.

City Manager John Shirey said he believes "we'll still make that deadline" of releasing a proposal Thursday, but that "it will take every minute between now and then to achieve that."

"We're still on track," Shirey told the City Council, adding "it's still a work in progress at this moment."

It has been an intense effort. Shirey's office has been negotiating with billionaire Ron Burkle over the financing plan for less than a month.

The city manager wants the term sheet released for public viewing by Thursday to give the City Council five days to examine the proposal before a council vote Tuesday. Shirey said he would notify the City Council if a deal is not reached with Burkle by the end of business today.

Responding to calls from the public and City Council, Shirey has also scheduled three public forums on the plan, starting with a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Burkle and Mark Mastrov, the founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, have teamed up on a bid to purchase the Kings. That pitch has been filed with the National Basketball Association in the event that the league rejects a deal the team's owners have with a group in Seattle seeking to move the Kings to the Pacific Northwest.

An arena financing plan is seen as a pivotal peg of the Burkle and Mastrov bid. Mayor Kevin Johnson plans to present Sacramento's case – including a team purchase offer and arena plan – to the NBA on April 3. The contingent from Seattle will also make a pitch to the league that day.