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Park Theater box office's $750 fee closer to reality
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A $750 fee for the use of Park Theater’s box office remains intact and the multi-event rental agreement is making its way back to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
The agreement went before the board Feb. 23 and was sent back to committee after the city attorney objected to an addition in the agreement that states, “Box office fee (per ticket fee will be added after event) $750 plus 15 cents per ticket sold.” The fee was added after committee approval but before full board consideration.
Adequate public notice about the change was not given, said city attorney Tim Pirtle, because the item was not discussed when the discount rates for multiple events was under consideration during a Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.
Parks and Recreation Committee chair Ben Newman says the fee is an attempt to recoup the cost of handling the sale of tickets for users of the facility.
“When people use our ticketing system, it causes the Park Theater staff to do a lot of work – taking phone calls, helping people sign up online, and do other tasks,” Newman said. “This fee covers the cost that we would expend on employees to do that work. I think it’s estimated at about 60 hours of work for our employees to, basically, walk people through the system, taking the phone calls and doing all that work. This fee is to recoup that.”
There are hidden fees that will be paid by the charge.
“There are other fees that are due such as credit and debit fees and taxes,” said Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord.
The fee only applies to event organizers who opt to use the facility’s box office for their ticket sales, which includes its online service called Ticket Biscuit. If an organizer decides to sell their own tickets and not utilize the city’s services, the $750 fee would not apply.
“This would probably be used by people who are pretty sure their event will sell out,” said Newman. “If they don’t do this, then they can sell the tickets themselves and they don’t have to pay us anything to do that. That’s something they can do on their own. If you only expect to sell 150 tickets, you probably don’t want to use this.”
The fee, says McCord, 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.
Alderman Steve Harvey says the fee is fine if the show sells out a night or two, but what if it doesn’t.
“What about the poor guy who just doesn’t know how many he’ll sell? He thinks it will sell out but it doesn’t. A $750 fee could be more than he makes on the show,” said Harvey.
Park Theater manager Kevin Roberts says consideration will be given to waiving the fee in that event.
“If somebody ran into a real issue that after a week they weren’t selling any tickets, I know Scott (McCord) is accommodating enough and I know I’m accommodating enough that if they knew they were going to take a big hit and we weren’t using staff time to sell the tickets, we could consider on a case-by-case basis refunding that amount,” said Roberts.
Committee members Newman, Harvey and Alderman Jimmy Bonner unanimously approved the multi-event rental agreement, box office fee included.
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.
The measure will be sent to the full board for its consideration.