July 09--GLASGOW -- Questions that members of the Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission raised in June about a funding request by the Plaza Theatre for the upcoming Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert were answered Tuesday afternoon by theater and city officials.
There was some confusion in June as to whether theater director Jennifer Moonsong was to address the tourist commission at its meeting in June or July. Although the commission discussed the request at its June meeting, it was later determined that Moonsong was actually supposed to address the panel in July.
Theater officials requested $4,000 in funding from the tourist commission to help offset costs for the concert, which will be Aug. 15. Commissioners ultimately voted Tuesday to contribute $2,000 to the concert.
Commissioners discussed the request in June and questioned why the theater was making a request for funding if theater officials felt the concert would generate a profit.
A statement of work, which was submitted to commissioners in June, said the theater's anticipated expenditures, including fees, salaries, advertising, food and lodging would be $23,500. It also said the theater's anticipated earnings, including sponsorships, contributions and ticket sales, after expenses, would be $14,100.
Commissioner Kim Shipley said in June she was not in favor of the tourist commission granting the theater's funding request due to the statement of work saying the concert would generate a $14,100 profit for the theater.
Moonsong was on hand Tuesday to answer commissioners' questions and clear up any misunderstandings.
"One thing I would like to make clear is that when we make money on an event like this, we don't make that money as a grand total at the end our (fiscal) year. That's money that we reap for one event, and we have three or four events on the heels of this event where we make nothing at all," Moonsong said.
Because the theater serves as a venue for such events as Children's Day, which is in November and results in a loss of $400 to $500 for the theater, the Plaza needs money from groups such as the tourist commission to support events like the concert, she said.
The money will also be used to fund a month-long 80th anniversary celebration of the theater in August and to renovate the room above the theater's marquee. It is the only space that wasn't done when the theater was renovated -- a project that began in 2005.
Before commissioners made a decision regarding the funding request, Glasgow Mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman, an ex-officio member of the commission, asked to speak.
"I don't know that you guys understand how this actually works. When we say we make money off that one event, that money goes back into the Plaza Fund; of which this year $130,000 came from the activities general fund to support that," she said. "That was $20,000 less than what I had put into it last year. The goal is that the Plaza becomes self-sustaining like the (Glasgow Regional Landfill) is. The landfill receives no tax dollars. It supports itself, so the goal is the outside funding and having events where we are actually make money ... will in time ... lessen the amount of tax dollars that are going to support it."
Shipley asked Trautman how the $130,000 is used.
Trautman explained that the theater is a $200,000 annual operation and that about $130,000 in tax revenue is used to support operation costs.
Shipley also asked why the theater has venues that don't generate money.
The vision of former Glasgow mayor Charles Honeycutt was for the theater to be a venue for community arts and education events. If the theater were to charge Dr. Bharat Mody for the use of the theater for Children's Day, the committee overseeing the event couldn't afford it, Trautman said.
"We underwrite those events because (they are) community event(s). We do that with several others," she said.
Ann Stewart, marketing director for the tourist commission, said the concern is what happens to the profit the theater makes.
"It goes to the Plaza Fund. It's not going to pay for the streets to keep the lights on out here in front of city hall. It doesn't go to any of that," she said. "It does not go into the general fund."
The theater will probably make money on the concert, but Trautman said as a whole it will not be a profitable activity for the theater.
Peggy Bates, chair of the tourist commission, asked for a motion on the matter, but before the motion was made Trautman told commissioners she had a safety committee meeting and left.
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