Carnival Center Seeks $4 Million from Miami-Dade County

Classic Arts News   Carnival Center Seeks $4 Million from Miami-Dade County
Officials at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami officials will today ask Miami-Dade County commissioners for $4.1 million to sustain the institution, which is expected to run out of money by mid-June, through September, reports The Miami Herald.

If the commissioners approve the request, the money will be provided from the county's hotel bed taxes and will bring the county's funding of Carnival Center from the budgeted $3.75 million to $7.8 million for the year.

However, if the request is turned down, Carnival Center CEO Michael Hardy told the Herald that the center will have to prop itself up with private donations and money from advance ticket sales in order to remain open through July while additional funding is solicited from the county.

The full commission is scheduled to vote on the funding request on June 26.

Hardy told the commission's cultural committee last week that the fiscal problems are largely due to miscalculations and oversights in the center's estimated operating budget, according to the Herald. In total, monthly operating costs swelled from the planned $306,000 to $616,000. Next year's budget allows for $8.8 million in operating costs, according to the paper.

One major miscalculation, for example, was to budget air conditioning costs based on square feet of floor space (measured in two dimensions) rather than on cubic footage (i.e., the total space, measured in three dimensions, that needs to be cooled). Another overlooked expense mentioned in the Herald's report is the cost of police services on performance nights.

Some county commissioners were reportedly incredulous at these oversights; one suggested that the center's patrons and board members "share in some of that pain" by paying for the cost overruns.

The Herald writes that the Performing Arts Center Foundation, which raises private money for the Carnival Center, will give the institution $2.7 million this year and plans to donate $3.5 million next year.

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