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Civic Center starts fiscal year in red

Staff writer

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By all accounts, the Clovis Civic Center lost a lot of money in its first quarter of the fiscal year. But numbers provided by the city differ greatly from those provided by Civic Center staff.

City officials report the center lost $95,625 in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

That compares to a $29,263 loss in the first quarter last year, according to numbers provided by city Finance Director LeighAnn Melancon.

But Civic Center officials contend those numbers do not accurately reflect what’s really going on at one of Clovis’ more popular taxpayer-supported gathering places.

Civic Center Finance Director Lee Ann Hutchins said Wednesday afternoon the numbers for last month had not been completed, but July-August this year performed better than July-August 2013.

She said the Civic Center lost $56,960 the first two months of this quarter, compared to a $80,136 loss sustained in July-August 2013.

The city’s fiscal year begins in July.

Hutchins said the difference between the city’s statistics and the Civic Center’s numbers is in terminology and “timing differences” related to advance ticket sales.

Said Melancon: “I can only give you cash numbers because that’s how we operate. I understand what (Hutchins) is saying; if you haven’t had events yet, you haven’t collected on them. But if you haven’t collected, then they are not revenue, but potential revenue. I am comparing apples to apples.”

City numbers show revenue for the first quarter of this year is down $75,303 from 2013-2014. While expenses are also down, by $8,941, the result is a $66,362 increase in losses year over year.

Civic Center General Manager Misty Bertrand said the center’s number of events fell from 64 to 58 in the first quarter this year, compared to last. Statistics provided by Melancon show the average revenue from those events dropped from $2,566 to $1,533.

“Last year we had multiple parties booked at the same time and this year it was larger parties booking the whole center; so that is why it’s less,” Bertrand said.

October is off to a good start, Bertrand said, with 28 events booked this year compared to 22 last October.

And, she said, the revenue expected from this year’s October bookings is $45,904, compared to $27,998 from a year ago.

The Civic Center did see a decrease in expenses from last year and Bertrand said changes in staff has contributed to that change.

When Bertrand became general manager in February, she said she brought in a new sales manager, event manager and finance director.

Bertrand also praised Executive Chef Stephen Reshetar for improving the food quality.

“Our food has vastly improved due to (Reshetar) and we have had a lot of compliments. It’s also our customer service working to keep the center running,” Bertrand said.

Bertrand said in the past year the Civic Center has seen improvement projects that include updating the heating and cooling system. Another improvement that will take place next month is new carpeting.

“We are where we need to be with booking events and financially, according to our budget,” Bertrand said.

Editor David Stevens and Projects Editor Robin Fornoff contributed to this report.