Community Concerns

 
Have you considered.......................?

bulletpoint    The Proposed $50 Million Community Arts Center
      Duplicates Theatrical Venues

  • 1200 – 1500 - seat theater duplicates the 1100-seat historic State Theatre.
  • 450-seat mid-sized theater replaces UW-Eau Claire’s 400-seat Kjer Theatre.
  • 250-seat black box theater duplicates existing on-campus and city-wide venues.

  • Click here to learn about existing theaters in the Chippewa Valley.

bulletpoint    Endangers Thriving Community Theater Groups

The high cost facility will increase rental costs to community theater groups.  Higher rental costs mean higher ticket prices.  Higher ticket prices mean smaller audiences and lost revenue.  Without adequate revenue, community theater cannot survive.  Access to the only existing large, affordable venue, the State Theatre, will end with the opening of the new facility.  The proposed theater also fosters reliance on the city taxpayer rather than the voluntary "can do" community spirit that characterizes current performance venues.  Source: Wayne Marek, Eau Claire Children’s Theatre, VenuWorks Report

bulletpoint    Theaters Lose Money

Theaters traditionally lose money, especially in smaller cities. Those making money have 2000+ seats, have a large population of theater-goers, and run the same show for 4 - 6 weeks.  Smaller cities require a strategic balance between community theater productions and touring productions.  The more touring productions a theater hosts, the more substantial the contributions required to keep it afloat.

 Theater  Annual Revenue  Annual Loss  Contributions Received
 Fox Valley PAC, Appleton   $11.8 million   $3.9 million   $5 million
 *Grand Theatre, Wausau   $1.4 million   $468,000   $641,000
 **Rendondo Beach, CA   $745,000   $300,000   $300,000**
 *Burnsville, MN PAC   $1.1 Million   $1.1 million   $1.1 million**

*Programming comparable to Eau Claire’s State Theatre. Source: IRS Form 990’s, City CAFR’s or budgets, PAC Web sites.

**City-owned primarily funded by tax dollars; Redondo Beach includes no provision for capital or major maintenance items.

bulletpoint    Taxpayers Backstop Arts Center’s Annual Operating Losses

No business plan for the Community Arts Center exists beyond a proposal to apply $300,000 of city room tax revenue against anticipated annual cash losses (without a provision for future capital/major maintenance costs). This is problematic because city room tax revenue is already fully allocated to other local non-profit organizations. It is generally expected that the City of Eau Claire taxpayers will pay all operating deficits UW-Eau Claire does not accept.

bulletpoint    More City Debt

As of 2013, the long term city debt per resident was $2,108; more than triple the 2001 debt of $660 per person. This is higher than the 2013 Annual City Budget of $1,971 per person. The planned additional $21.2 million of debt for the Confluence project increases that debt to $2,424 per person. Sources: Dec. 12, 2013 blog by Russell Van Gompel, Eau Claire City Manager, Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR).

bulletpoint    Increased Property Taxes

The tax levy (total dollars raised by municipalities through property taxes) is fixed by State law unless new property is added to the rolls. When new property is added, the City has a onetime “use it or lose it” opportunity to increase the levy by the proportional value of the new property. The increased levy is, then, allocated among taxpayers that are outside the TIF district. The Confluence Project assures increased property taxes because the planned dormitory provides the City with the opportunity to raise the tax levy.  Eau Claire County already ranks in the top 8%—249th of 3,143 counties in order of median property taxes and in the top 6.4%—201st of 3,143 counties for property taxes as a % of median income. Sources: Roger & Associates Report and tax-rates.org.

bulletpoint    37 Years of Higher Taxes

If the Confluence project proceeds, it will extend TIF District #8’s life from 27 to 37 years. During that time, ALL incremental property taxes will be paid to bondholders instead of the city, county, state or local school district. Thus, 37 years of higher taxes for taxpayers living outside TIF #8. (N. Barstow TIF #8 includes: RCU, Riverfront Terrace Apartments, the defunct Charly’s Market, JAMF, and the planned N. Barstow Parking Ramp). Source: Tax Incremental Finance District Reports, Eau Claire City Budget.

bulletpoint    Flawed Financial Analysis by Rogers & Associates

bulletpoint    $10.9 Million of Flood Plain Infrastructure Would Be Required

bulletpoint    Limited Parking & Road Access

bulletpoint    The Fate of the Historic State Theatre - Probable Demolition (no longer utilized as performing arts theater - click for details)

bulletpoint    Loss of the Confluence National Historic District

bulletpoint    Razing Historic Buildings for a Residence Hall

bulletpoint    City Funding Diverted From Necessities