By Karen Kennedy
Carmel City Council President Rick Sharp and Finance Chair Luci Snyder confirm that they have reached an agreement to resolve the funding dilemma with the Civic Theatre. The resolution was slated to be voted on at the Aug. 19 council meeting.
In a statement, Snyder said, “We are not anti-arts. I would like to remind everyone that the Council approved $507,000 in grants to other arts organizations. And we do value the Civic and their contribution to the arts in Carmel, but we represent the interests of the taxpayers of Carmel, who built a multi-million dollar theater for the Civic under a rent-to-buy contract. They operated in that brand new theater for two years without paying any rent. Their first rental payment of $400,000 was due Dec. 31, 2012. In November 2012, they told us they couldn’t make that payment but would pay $200,000. This required that a new contract with them be drafted between the Civic and the CRC. The city then held their grant check until the new agreement was inked. As soon as it was signed, they received a check for $190,000.”
Snyder continued, “So this year, with a new contract in place, I have to ask, ‘Will the Civic do it again?’ Why should we give them $200,000 in taxpayer money in August and hope we get a full rent check of $200,000 in December?”
Snyder is now proposing what she refers to as a “checkpoint Charlie” arrangement. The Civic will receive its city funding only after the 2013 rent of $200,000 has been paid to the CRC.
Referencing the fact that it was agreed by the council that it made little sense for the Civic to pay $200,000 for building rights to the CRC and then in turn receive $200,000 from the city, Sharp said, “Luci proposed a compromise which I have agreed to support simply because of the near universal misunderstanding by the general public of what we had said and done at our last meeting. I will not support this convoluted money shifting practice again.”
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