Reversing Bad Run, Flagler Auditorium Scores $5,000 Grant from Tourist Council
FlaglerLive | March 16, 2011
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.
- Despite Successes, Flagler Auditorium Loses Out on at Least $15,000 in Tourism Funding
- Flagler Auditorium Archives
- Tourist Development Council Archives
“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.