TCA reduces national tour season to two shows

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Tecumseh City Council adopted budget amendments for the Tecumseh Center for the Arts (TCA) fund on Monday night, June 3, that reflect a change from the adopted budget and estimated deficit of $68,000 to an anticipated deficit of $36,000.

Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch said that Director of Cultural and Leisure Services, Shelley Lim, and TCA Operations Manager Kathy Fields, and other staff, had been working for several weeks to find a way to close the gap.

“It’s still a loss, but at least it hasn’t gotten bigger,” said Welch. “Hopefully we can make a profit during the next budget year. I believe the staff has done as good a job as anybody can do to try to balance the budget. The challenge to the staff was to get next year’s budget as close to zero as possible. I’m convinced they have done as good a job as they can do without closing the doors.”

Cost-saving strategy has included reduction in the cost of the professional touring season and staying away from national performers since the higher costs make it difficult to break even on a show. Welch said the TCA would be offering a “Pure Michigan” season this year.

“Something will be held there approximately once a month by our undertaking, plus rentals,” he said. “There will be two national shows which we are pretty confident will sell out and we wish we could have 12 of them, but we will have some other smaller venues that are less expensive, most from Michigan, and we think it’s less of a risk of losing money on those.”

Another strategy is to open the box office on an “as needed” basis rather than the current four days a week. Welch said there are not as many events taking place during the summer or fall, so box office hours will be shifted, with expanded hours during heavy ticket-buying times. He said TCA staff multi-task and do not simply sell tickets as in some theaters, so there may be some reduction in hours and service, however, the staff came up with the idea as a way to cut expenses.

Welch also prepared a lease agreement, at the direction of council members, for the Tecumseh Paddling Company to utilize space at the Community Center for a livery. The lease payment would be $150 per month for each month the company occupies the building, which is expected to be from May through October 31 of each year. The current lease would be for six months, with a possibility of extension.

An earlier draft outlined terms for sale of equipment, however, the city is now opting to keep the canoes, kayaks and other equipment and rent them to the business owner.

Due to language in the city charter regarding lease agreements, Welch and City Attorney Scott Baker recommended that there be a supermajority vote to pass the measure. A roll-call vote was 5-2, with Jack Baker and Gary Naugle voting no.
“I would just like to reinforce my previous comments,” said Baker. “I think it’s a good idea what’s being proposed, but I will not be in support of it for the reason previously given.” At a previous meeting, Baker had said he remains sensitive to the residents on Red Mill Pond, who will be paying a special assessment for the maintenance and upkeep of the Red Mill Pond Dam.
In other business, council:

• Read a proclamation honoring Jeanette and Tom Meyer, recipients of the 2013 Musgrove Evans Award.

• Approved closure of M-50/Chicago Boulevard between Pearl St. and Maumee St. on Saturday, July 20, from 9:45 a.m. until 11 a.m. for the 10th annual Pet Parade.

• Approved the Parade of Lights event on July 13.

• Authorized a contract between the city and MDOT regarding the widening of M-50 just east of Rogers Highway, for a road project to be shared with Lenawee Stamping/Van Rob, and the repaving at the Rogers Highway intersection.

• Set a public hearing for Monday, June 17, at 7:35 p.m. regarding the city’s application to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for rental rehabilitation program funding for downtown upper floor renovations.




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