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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Arts District faces budget shortfall; surcharge on event tickets possible

The Madison Cultural Arts District Board is seeking ways to make up for a $60,000 shortfall in its operating budget this year and smaller deficits in 2002 and 2003, according to arts district chief executive Bob D'Angelo. 




In order to pay the bills, the board is considering extending a $1 surcharge on tickets sold for touring shows to resident companies' shows as well, D'Angelo said. The surcharge and a dip into funds earmarked for the Arts District's endowment would together cover the entire shortfall until the district begins receiving $1.4 million in operating funds from the Overture Foundation in 2004. 




\[A consultant] recommended [the surcharge] in 2004 as part of a balanced budget,"" D'Angelo said, but added the board could instate the surcharge earlier to keep the district in the black until then. 




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Adding the surcharge now would make up for about $40,000 of the present deficit and bring in an additional $80,000 per year in revenue after that, D'Angelo said. 




The district also has considered finding ways to reduce expenditures, perhaps by cutting back on box office hours or the number of ushers employed, D'Angelo said. 




""We're examining a variety of options,"" he said. ""Some of those are cutting expenditures, [but] in every expenditure cut comes a service cut."" 




Tony Forman director of the Madison Repertory Theatre, one of the Civic Center's resident organizations affected by the proposed surcharge, said he prefers not to see the new fee but would keep an open mind on the issue. 




""The health of the Cultural Arts District is as important to the Repertory as its own health,"" he said. 




D'Angelo said the deficit came about due to ""upfront starting costs"" associated with transferring operation of the Civic Center from the city to the Arts District Board. 




Among such costs are attorney fees and payments for emergency services that the Civic Center did not have to pay when it was a city agency. But the Cultural Arts District is an independent entity, meaning that it can no longer make use of other city agencies, such as the city attorney's office. 




By 2003, the deficit should be down to between $10,000 and $15,000, he said, but added, ""We're not certain of certain costs down the road.\

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