In Saturday’s (3/7) San Diego Union-Tribune, Angela Lau reports, “The city of Escondido is bailing out the insolvent California Center for the Arts, Escondido even as the City Council struggles to close a widening budget gap to provide city services. … In management agreements signed with the foundation throughout the years, the city has promised to absorb all losses. The city also guarantees the center’s debts. All those promises set the stage for Wednesday’s City Council actions when the center asked for a $500,000 advance—about half the management fee for the fiscal year beginning July 1—to ease the center’s cash-flow problems. Center officials also asked the council to pay off the center’s $1.7 million debt over five years. After some debate, the council agreed in a 4-1 vote, with Councilwoman Marie Waldron dissenting.” Lau notes that the city ordered the center to stop producing its own shows—many of which lost money—and rent its theaters to production companies. But this means less revenue from advance ticket sales, something that has hurt the center’s cash flow.
Posted March 9, 2009