Yesterday Thisweek published this cute little fluff piece about the Burnsville Performing Arts Center touting how Tom Hansen, Deputy City Manager, feels that the PAC is performing quite well to date. Unfortunately, as is the case with many of these pieces, Thisweek didn’t do much in the way of due diligence to get the whole story. Thankfully, through some quick information requests and reading documentation provided by the city, I am able to give specifics that Burnsville probably doesn’t want you to know.
- The city is proud to show off the upcoming acts that are planned for the Burnsville Performing Arts Center including “country music legend” George Jones who hasn’t had a #1 on the country charts since 1983! His 2009 tour will be coming to such illustrious venues and events such as the ever so important National Peanut Festival in Dothan Alabama and Penns Peak in beautiful Jim Thorpe, PA! Now I don’t know about you but I’m almost certain that George Jones will perform to a sellout crowd of 60-somethings who have been fans of his since way back in the 1950s. Nothing like meeting your core population demographic there Burnsville.
- As Chad pointed out, they have not had any event on the 1000 seat main stage for two months including a completely empty March calendar. Explain to me how that motherfucking monstrosity is anything but an empty waste of taxpayer dollars. I’m serious, please let me know.
- While Hansen claims that the Burnsville Performing Arts Center made $45,000 between it’s January 21st opening and through February, he’s stretching the truth. Well, he’s out and out lying but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because I’m sure he has to tow the “political shit” line that Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and councilman Dan Gustafson probably tell him to.
Now, you might ask me, but Bill, why would they stretch the truth about how much money the PAC made? While I can’t answer that question with any confidence I have to say that it’s because they are being assaulted during city council meetings by fiscal conservatives like Charlie Chrichton who is an outspoken critic of the entire Heart of the Shitty™ area and especially the $20 million Performing Arts Center. While Kautz and her fucking lap dog Gustafson are finally on the losing end of financial battles, they are still standing their ground and insisting on wasting taxpayer dollars to fund improvements to an area that is absolutely fucking dead and only getting worse.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this document (PDF) which shows the approximately $45,000 figure that Tom Hansen quoted to Thisweek (it was actually $44,683). Now, if you just looked at that and took it at face value, like the reporter did from Thisweek, you’d say hey, that’s pretty fucking good for only being open a month and a week. Unfortunately that bullshit document only tells a small portion of the story–and only the good portion at that.
I was provided with this document (PDF) by the Deputy City Clerk from Burnsville which shows the other half of the story (
in fact, it only shows 1/4 of the story because the information from February is due today but I won’t be able to get it until next week at the earliest because of staffing issues and the hard work the finance department is currently doing. Update: you can see the February 2009 data here (PDF) where they lose $63,729.36 more. As you can see from the document, in January *alone* the Burnsville Performing Arts Center lost nearly $90,000 ($84,077.56)! Oops, Burnsville claims to have made $45,000 in January and February but it’s going to lose $150,000+ in the same time? Funny, Thisweek didn’t mention any of that in their article. What are they doing over there, writing free press releases for the city?
Oh but Thisweek did mention what the city expects to make over the entire year and that they expect to fall short of about $265,000 for the year. Yeah, thanks, we already knew of those numbers though. Being that they’re already $85,000 in the hole and probably another $50,000 on top of that (if not more), I have a feeling that the hard economic times, the empty 1000 seat main stage, and the shitty, washed up acts they are bringing in aren’t going to make their revenue projections for this year.
So, based on what you see here, what do you think about the possibility of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center breaking even after its 5th year? Do you think that the acts that they have been bringing in are going to draw the crowds necessary to offset the huge deficit that they are digging for themselves? Perhaps you just think it’s way too early to tell and expect a little more leeway to be given to this project before we start diving into the specifics. Whatever it is, feel free to share your thoughts below!