WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The management company that runs Warren’s Packard Music Hall said the institution will need more money from the city.
JAC has managed the hall for the past four years. It has the option to stay for a fifth year in that deal but right now, the company is saying no.
JAC Management, which also runs Youngstown’s Covelli Centre, met with Warren City Council Monday night to explain its financial need.
Eric Ryan, with JAC, said underfunding is a common issue.
“It just costs a lot of money to run these facilities. These facilities throughout the country, 85 percent of them lose money. Opening and closing the doors every day, they lose money. So that’s the challenging part.”
JAC’s subsidy from the city decreases each year. Next year, the city would only give JAC $100,000.
The company said that would make running the hall nearly impossible. It would have to jack up rent and cut community programs.
The City of Warren and the music hall staff have the same goal — keeping the building open while increasing and improving entertainment, all while keeping costs for taxpayers low.
But JAC said in order to do this, it needs more funding from the city.
“The good part is we think we’ve made a significant difference. We’ve brought great entertainment to the City of Warren and we want to continue to do so,” Ryan said.
Before JAC took over management for Packard, the responsibility fell on the city and the hall lost hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Their management deal with JAC has significantly reduced the city’s financial burden.
“It has continued to decrease, however, we’ve had council members and citizens that say they want that to even go lower and also our financial situation deems that it needs to go lower,” said Councilwoman At-Large Helen Rucker.
The city doesn’t know if it can meet JAC’s request so next year, it’ll be looking at other management options.
“We’re talking about an increase in our budget for this management group but we know that will take us to year five and at that time, we do have the option and we are going to go out to bid,” Rucker said.
JAC doesn’t want that to happen. It wants to continue managing the hall for years to come and it will be bidding for the hall next year. JAC hopes Warren can come up with a financial plan that benefits the company and the city.