The members of the Burnsville City Council, acting as commissioners for the Burnsville Economic Development Authority met following the August 1st Burnsville City Council meeting to discuss and then approve a $50,000 ‘loan’ to the BPAC. This loan is intended to help change the way that the Burnsville Performing Arts Center handles events and the majority of the commissioners hope it will fix the on-going problems the PAC faces.
According to Deputy City Manager Tom Hansen, the purpose of the $50,000 BPAC loan is to, “promote city economic development through the Performing Arts Center Economic Development Account (PACEDA) or, as it’s known in the industry, an angel fund.” Mr. Hansen goes on to explain that by changing the BPAC from a ‘rental house’ to a ‘presenting house’, the city would get to share in the risk and the profit which comes from the booked events. He notes that it is the consensus of “many in the community” that this would a “useful tool for our Performing Arts Center to have.” However, the PACEDA would not solely be shouldered by the taxpayers, as the rest of the BPAC has been, but instead the BPAC Commissioners and City Staff are convinced that they can get businesses within the community to match the funds backed by the taxpayers through the $50,000 loan.
As it currently stands there are local donations from: Pepsi, PawnAmerica, and VenuWorks who have each donated $10,000 to the fund. Mention was made that FOBPAC wanted to get involved as well as naming rights, etc which could get the PACEDA to the level the commissioners believe it needs to be in order to make the BPAC the success it has yet to become.
The only commission/councilmember to object to the ‘donation’ of $50,000 of additional taxpayer funds came from Mary Sherry. While Dan Kealey and Dan Gustafson both noted that investments in any business venture are necessary, Mary Sherry felt the outlook was “very sunny.” Eventually the commissioners voted and the EDA agreed to fund a loan of $50,000 to the PACEDA.
What do you think about another $50,000 tax outlay for the BPAC? Do you believe the PAC will be able to quickly repay the loan? Do you feel that it’s a slap in the face that VenuWorks is credited with donating $10,000 to the fund which is, in effect, also taxpayer dollars as the city pays them $120,000/year to run the facility? Do you believe that this is an appropriate use of economic development funds? Whatever you have to say about the Burnsville EDA’s 3-1 decision to throw another $50,000 at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.