Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I’m not writing to criticize the Manteca City Council’s decision to keep the Fourth of July celebration at the Big League Dreams venue. Logistically, that might be best for the city.
However, I must refute the figures outlined in the Bulletin article, “4th of July celebration staying put” and offer counter points to some questionable interpretations and conclusions. According to the article, “it was determined it cost BLD $21,295 to partner with the city, essentially making the privately held sports complex management firm the biggest sponsor of the event.” Really? Let’s examine just how altruistic and philanthropic BLD management truly is. Included in the $21,295 figure is “the $12,500 fee BLD normally charges when it turns the complex over to a single user, such as the City of Manteca, for use of its facilities.” The contract between BLD and the city “gives it (the city) use of the complex three times a year but doesn’t contain language that waives the facility fee.” Are we expected to believe that city leaders who negotiated this contract were so incompetent that they insisted on the option of using a complex owned and paid for by the city ($30 million) three times per year, all the while paying a “facilities fee” for this “privilege”? That makes no sense. Obviously, city leaders understood this to mean that the contractual 3 days per year use would be free of charge. Otherwise why even stipulate a specific number of days if, like any other “single user,” the city was required to pay for facility usage? Another figure of interest is “the entire gate of $5,524 that BLD allowed the city to keep.” Allowed? This supposed “generosity” could also be defined as “double-dipping.”
Are “single users” who pay the $12,500 daily facilities fee also required to donate their entire gate proceeds to BLD management? Renting the complex should give the “single user” the exclusive power to set and keep entrance event fees and associated charges, excluding food, which I believe, BLD management controls. We can realistically deduct the $12,500 and $5,524 figures from the $21,295 total. This leaves $3,271 in actual costs that BLD spends on the July 4th event, factoring in staff wages and “related expenses such as electricity, maintenance and clean-up.” Keep in mind that BLD retains the right to all food sales or regulates what is allowed. Conservatively, if only half of the over 7,000 attendees spent $2 on food during the July 4th event, that would total $7,000. Subtracting the city’s 15% cut of gross revenue on concessions ($1,050) leaves BLD with just under $6,000 in food sales gross, almost doubling its real cost for the event. So let’s not mistake BLD management for Manteca’s own Santa Claus.
Feb. 15, 2012