A $750 fee for the use of Park Theater’s box office remains intact and the multi-event rental agreement policy was accepted by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
The measure passed 6-1 on first read, and a second read is required. Mayor Jimmy Haley, Vice Mayor Ben Newman, and Aldermen Ryle Chastain, Jimmy Bonner, Everett Brock and Steve Harvey voted in favor of the fee and policy, while Alderman Mike Neal voted against it.
The $750 fee, plus 15 cents per ticket sold that will be calculated after the event, will hurt event organizers if their event does not sell out, says Neal.
“I think that could really hurt some of our local folks when it’s just a set fee and not based on a portion of the ticket sales so I will not be supporting this,” said Neal.
Harvey added, “I’ve said that from the beginning and it didn’t get anywhere in committee, but I agree. If you are trying to have an event but you only sell 100 tickets and you hired them to do it, it’s going to cost you $750 plus 15 cents a ticket.”
Organizers wanting to avoid that scenario can opt to sell their own tickets and not utilize the theater’s box office or online service called Ticket Biscuit.
The lump fee, said Neal, is encouraging people to not use the city’s ticket sale services.
“I see it as us saying we don’t want to mess with tickets. That’s what we’re saying. We don’t want to mess with the tickets. The way to say that is price it in a way that will discourage people from using it.”
“I think what it’s saying if other people are using the space, we will help them sell tickets if they pay for the ticketing system and our labor to do it. We are providing an extra service,” said Newman.
The $750 fee covers the cost of handling the sale of tickets, such as employee time, fees charged by Ticket Biscuit, credit and debit fees, taxes, etc., for users of the facility.
While there might be a financial hardship on organizers who opt to use the city’s box office and ticket sales are poor, the fee is per performance and not per show, meaning a performance can have two to three showings on consecutive nights and the charge will be $750.
Park Theater manager Kevin Roberts says the fee can be an advantage for productions like “Aladdin & His Wonderful, Magical Lamp” by Dream Reality Group with director Logan Taylor.
“Actually, this is an advantage to the customer. When you have something like Aladdin, which is coming up and they sell a lot of tickets, they will actually save money with the $750,” said Roberts. “Rather than using the complicated fee structure that we have currently set in place.”
The fee is included in multi-event discount rates policy. Multi-event discount rates: Persons/ organizations renting the facility for multiple public events throughout the same calendar year will receive the following discounted rates: One event pays a regular price, two events receive a 10 percent discount on the second show/ rental, three events receive a 20 percent discount on the third show/ rental, and four events receive a 30 percent discount on the fourth show/ rental.
Being an ordinance, the measure must pass one more read before the board.