The orchestra originally expected a deficit of $1.42 million for 2004-05, but managed to keep expenses down by canceling five concerts and not filling some open administrative positions. In addition, private donations increased 5.3 percent, and several one-time grants provided the orchestra with $1.17 million.
Angelo Fatta, the orchestra's chair, told the paper, "We might have patted ourselves on our backs for a few weeks, but we are not taking anything for granted and we know we've got a lot of work ahead of us. We have to find new sources of revenue, because we can't go back to some of the sources we've had in the past."
One of last season's close calls involved a promised $710,000 from Erie County. Because of budget uncertainties at the county level, the money was withdrawn by the county, and then, mid-season, $500,000 of it was restored.
The orchestra's 2005-06 season has a projected deficit of $1.4 million, although ticket sales are currently $140,000 ahead of last year's and a September 17 concert with Yo-Yo Ma set a box-office record.