Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Facing deficit, Carrollwood Cultural Center looks at cutting budget and staff

CARROLLWOOD — The Carrollwood Cultural Center is looking at cutting its budget and staff to close a deficit that threatens the facility's future, its leaders say.

"What we're trying to do is save the organization and stop the bleeding to try to help the patient live to another day," said John Miley, a member of the board of the Friends of the Carrollwood Cultural Center, the nonprofit group that manages the center in partnership with Hillsborough County.

"If we don't take immediate action," Miley said, "the risk is the doors will be closed, and everything else will be moot."

In the near future, perhaps even next week, executive director Paul Berg is expected to outline a deficit-reduction plan to the Friends' board.

Berg already has briefed the board's finance committee on his plan, which would cut an estimated $127,000 from the center's budget for the remainder of 2010. Most of the savings, about $103,000, would be realized by eliminating four positions from the center's 11-member staff.

One position, the job of business manager, already has been eliminated. A second job would be eliminated in June, a third in July and the fourth in August. Berg declined this week to identify which other jobs he's thinking of cutting.

He also said that if the center can find other savings or if it can increase revenues by bringing in more people, that could negate the need to eliminate any more staff. But, he conceded, the other cost reductions or increased revenue would have to be substantial to save jobs.

The Friends' board had been scheduled to discuss an audit of the center and Berg's plan Tuesday night, but board members ended the meeting after only five minutes. An overflow crowd of 50 or more had crammed into the board's meeting room following days of rumors about the center's finances, future and the purpose of the meeting, including whether it was called to fire Berg.

Afterward, Miley and board president Jim Carver said that was not the reason for the meeting. Berg's performance is satisfactory, Carver said. Berg said he had heard the rumors about whether he would be dismissed, had asked one or more board members about them and had been told the same thing.

Going into the meeting, however, emotions ran high among the dozens of cultural center members who packed the small room and circulated a petition supporting Berg.

As the meeting began, a couple of people in the audience repeatedly interrupted and challenged Carver about why the board didn't hold the meeting in a bigger room and whether the board was open to hearing from those whose membership dues and volunteer service support the center. Carver said the meeting would be recessed and rescheduled if there wasn't enough order to conduct it. Moments later, the meeting's abrupt adjournment brought more protests.

"Do you realize the damage you've done to the image of the (Friends of the Carrollwood Cultural Center)?" asked center member Ron Manning of Odessa. "Big mistake."

After the meeting, Carver said the board would reschedule a public meeting to hear concerns from residents, center members, volunteers and others. He said he wished the board had been able to proceed with the meeting as planned.

"It's very disappointing for me personally," Carver said. "We're losing time on a major problem."

Hillsborough County spent $8 million buying what was once St. Mark's Episcopal Church and the former Church of Christ at Carrollwood and renovating both buildings to create the cultural center and its annex. The center opened in the spring of 2008 and receives a county subsidy of $380,000 a year. The county also picks up the cost of electricity, water and major maintenance to the buildings.

The county subsidy, however, does not even cover the center's payroll — the facility's single biggest category of expenses. Last year, personnel costs totaled more than $412,500. The center has seven full-time and four part-time employees.

In addition to the county subsidy, the center also earns revenue by offering a wide range of classes in painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, cooking, foreign languages, music, crafts, computer skills, yoga, dance, personal finance and etiquette for children. It offers frequent concerts and plays, and has community band, choral and dramatic programs. Its membership consists of about 600 individuals or families. Individuals pay $50 a year; families $95 a year.

Revenues, however, have not covered expenses. In 2009, revenues, including the county subsidy, were $725,315. That was about $43,000 less than the center's expenses for the year.

Through Monday, expenses for 2010 have outpaced revenues by more than $21,200.

Miley said he is worried about the rate at which the center has been using reserves to cover its operating deficit. That practice, he said, cannot be sustained much longer. Berg said the center's leadership must scrutinize every line in the budget.

"We're facing our first major challenge as an organization," Berg said. "How we deal with it is going to tell us a lot about that organization."

Reach Richard Danielson at Danielson@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3403.

Facing deficit, Carrollwood Cultural Center looks at cutting budget and staff 05/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 1:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Good luck finding solar eclipse glasses across Tampa Bay, U.S.

    Science

    Andi Figart pulled up to the New Port Richey Library on Thursday morning to an unusual sight.

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 11: Pairs of free solar eclipse glasses sit on display at a Warby Parker store  on August 11, 2017 in New York City. To view the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21 eye protection is essential. The designer eyeglass store expects to give out thousands of pairs of the glasses before the event.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
  2. Republicans face primary in whirlwind special election for Plant City-area House seat

    Elections

    PLANT CITY — With qualifying completed this week, the field is set in a whirlwind special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City — and the race could come down to two candidates in a Republican primary, Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure.

    Yvonne Fry is one of two Republican candidates with strong Plant City ties to quality for a special election in state House District 58.
  3. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left

    Minors

    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  4. Wrestler Ric Flair in critical condition with 'multiple organ problems,' family says

    Celebrities

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Ric Flair's fiancee shared more details of his illness in a Facebook post, and his condition is more serious than fans imagined for the hospitalized wrestling icon.

    Ric Flair photographed in 2009. [Getty]
  5. Gracepoint gifts senior residents with new home

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — When Mary Myles became program manager of The Graham Home 25 years ago, 30 adults with special needs occupied 65 square-foot apartments.

    The Graham at Gracepoint, the senior living apartments at 2400 East Henry Ave., was their first facility built from the ground up.