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Reversing Bad Run, Flagler Auditorium Scores $5,000 Grant from Tourist Council

| March 16, 2011

The Tourist Development Council extended the welcome mat this time. (© FlaglerLive)

It was a lot easier this time. The Flagler County Tourist Development Council took just five minutes to hear about, discuss and unanimously approve a $5,000 operating grant for the Flagler Auditorium, one month after the council denied the auditorium at least $15,000 that would have covered part of the auditorium’s advertising campaigns.

“I thought I’d make this presentation this month, let Lisa recover from the bruising she got last month,” Richard Hamilton, president of the auditorium’s board of directors, told the council. He was referring to Lisa McDevitt, the auditorium director, whom the council grilled mercilessly last month over non-compliance issues that led to the lost dollars. The auditorium lost $10,000 in reimbursements for 2010 over advertising logos the council requires, but that didn’t figure in some of the auditorium’s advertising. The auditorium lost another $10,000 in potential reimbursements for 2011 by not meeting grant application deadlines. There’s a possibility that $5,000 of that could be recovered as Hamilton plans to submit a grant request by June in preparation for the auditorium’s 20th anniversary season, which kicks off this fall. Advance publicity for that season begins in August.

The $5,000 request today was from a TDC pot different from the one from which the other requests would have been drawn. Those requests required proof that the grants helped generate hotel stays in the county. (All pots are funded through the county’s surtax of 4 percent on hotel, motel, RV and other short-term overnight accommodations.) Today’s request is drawn from a fund that underwrites tourism-prone facilities in the county, such as the Flagler Beach Museum and the Flagler County Historical Society’s Holden House. The $5,000 the auditorium received will pay for equipment rentals, ticketing, supplies, contract labor, phone expenses and some advertising outside the county.

“$5,000 would be a pretty small part of the budget but it would a very important one to us,” Hamilton said. The auditorium’s performance related budget—ticket sales and grants—is about $335,000, with ticket sales generating $300,000 or more. The auditorium’s advertising budget usually exceeds $70,000 a year. Added to its performance expenses—production costs, showbill expenses, contract labor and equipment rental—the total exceeds $350,000. The difference between revenue and expenses is made up through corporate and individual sponsorships and fundraising, which adds another $128,000 in revenue. The school district also contributes $330,000 for salaries, utilities and operating costs (salaries are about half that).

Mary DiStefano, a member of the tourist council, alone spoke—aside from council chairperson Milissa Holland—on today’s request, and only to welcome it and invite Hamilton to apply for more grants in the near future. There never was a question about the council’s support for the auditorium, only for the manner in which it did not follow all application requirements to the letter.

In an unrelated matter this morning, the council recognized the service of Ron Vath, who represented Flagler Beach on the council for the last several years. Vath opted not to run again in last week’s Flagler Beach city election. He was replaced on the council by Flagler Beach City Commissioner Steve Settle.

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2 Responses for “Reversing Bad Run, Flagler Auditorium Scores $5,000 Grant from Tourist Council”

  1. Donna De Poalo says:

    What they really need is a new website. I cannot imagine the existing site does very much to increase sales or donor base.

  2. palmcoaster says:

    What Auditorium need is the common sense of supporting the local community and also its businesses so in turn, they support as well the auditorium. Outsourcing their contracts to NJ and other areas is not going to bring those NJ audiences here to pay for a show tkt, or donate either. Having some of its Board members residing in Hammock Dunes, does not reassure exactly the success of the entity, while is not self sufficient and is funded in part by our school taxes intended for our students and not as venue for show business.
    Besides their very trendy, clicky “show us Who is Who” Crystal Ball once a year, supposedly being a fund raiser, which other fund raising events these wealthy VIP’s organize yearly? Maybe not enough as usual in the name of charity and to be given the right to rule on a Board of an entity funded by our school taxes with the excuse of their facilities being utilized by our students, as well. Can someone tell me if the school auditorium funds were cut as well? Or were not, in order to maintain the stereotype of their “distinguished board”.

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