Kettering City Council has approved a late-season infusion of $420,000 for the current Fraze Amphitheater season, but city officials said it’s not because the entertainment venue is operating with a deficit.
The money came from the Fraze Pavilion Fund, not the general fund. “It’s a Fraze saving account of sorts and it’s just for such purposes,” said city manager Mark Schwieterman.
City finance director Nancy Gregory said final figures for the amphitheater’s revenue and expenses in 2013 will not be available until the end of September.
“I can say we will finish in the black,” she added.
Schwieterman said the final figure will be “somewhere between $1 and $300,000.”
He said the latest supplemental appropriation — $220,000 for personal services and $200,000 for operating expenses — “is good news, not bad. It means 2013 has been a very good season.”
The city staff sets the annual Fraze budget in the fall to meet the deadline of the overall city budget.
“We don’t know at that time which or how many acts are going to be on the season, how much it will cost to present them and how much our staff expenses will be,” Schwieterman said.
“It’s important to point out that while we are appropriating more money, in part because we have booked more acts and bigger acts than we anticipated, we will also be increasing the revenue from those events. Tickets, sponsorships and concessions will cover the expenses.”
The city budgets a $300,000 fund ever year to subsidize Fraze operations if they go over the preliminary budget. The city sometimes has to dip into that before re-stocking it as revenues come in, but it has not depleted it by a dollar for several years.
Last year, Fraze reported revenues of $4.1 million and expenses of $4.0. In 2011, those numbers were $3.9 million and $3.7 million respectively.
When we set the season budget last fall, for example, “we had no idea we would be booking Josh Groban. That was a big show. It did great,” Schwieterman said.
The 4,300-seat amphitheater, which was again named one of Pollstar magazine’s top 25 outdoor worldwide venues this year, is in its 22nd season.
A spotlight tower, sound equipment and other improvements totaling more than $1 million of improvements were made in and around the Fraze and surrounding Lincoln Commons this year.