Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
County wants more analysis before partnering on mega-theater

Debt Review Councilwill take a week or two to scrutinize deal.

First Published Aug 07 2012 08:34 pm • Last Updated Nov 30 2012 11:31 pm

It was designed to be so inviting the Salt Lake County Council couldn’t say "no."

But when the nine-member board unwrapped Salt Lake City’s partnership proposal Tuesday for a Broadway-style theater downtown, the County Council didn’t give a "yes." It was more of a "maybe."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The long anticipated vote was delayed for a week, or maybe two, until the county’s Debt Review Council can analyze the proposal.

As currently crafted, the county could buy into the $110 million playhouse project for $28.2 million.

In addition, Salt Lake County would operate the proposed Main Street performing arts center and take a 50 percent cut of profits. Beyond that, Salt Lake City would pay Salt Lake County $600,000 annually to defer any loses in competition suffered at the Capitol Theatre, Abravanel Hall and Rose Wagner Theater, which also are run by the county.

But Councilman Steve DeBry wanted a more in-depth look at the proposal and noted that many cities don’t encumber taxpayers by underwriting the performing arts.

"I do question the financing for this theater," he said.

On DeBry’s motion, the council voted unanimously that the Debt Review Council analyze the proposed contract and operating agreement.

Councilman Jim Bradley, however, warned his colleagues that they may be sorry if they don’t partner up with Salt Lake City on such a sweet deal. He was successful in getting DeBry to amend his motion to include an analysis of what Salt Lake County could lose by not buying in.

"It seems like Salt Lake County is getting a hell of a deal here," Bradley said.


story continues below
story continues below

A large part of the quandary involves about $1.7 million in annual taxes the county now pays on the EnergySolutions Arena. That agreement will end in 2015. Under Salt Lake City’s plan, the county would then use that funding for its mega-theater.

Council Chairman David Wilde said that could set a dangerous precedent.

And Councilman Richard Snelgrove said there was no guarantee the theater wouldn’t be a financial loser.

"This is a risk with taxpayers’ money — $28 million. And we already have existing cultural venues that are underwritten by taxpayers."

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker seemed to take the new scrutiny in stride.

"The city has put up a large share of this project, and we hope the county will join us," he said in an interview. "If not, we’ll do something else."

csmart@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.