US&O has struggled since it was created by the merger of Utah Opera and the Utah Symphony in 2002, posting deficits of $1.8 million in 2003 and $1.6 million in 2004. Earlier this year, the group adopted a recovery plan calling for cuts in staff pay and expenses as well as a $10,000 donation from each of the 40 board members. Under the plan, the US&O projected a $571,000 deficit for the just-completed 2005 fiscal year, a $415,000 deficit in 2006, and a surplus in 2007.
Thanks to better-than-expected fundraising and ticket sales in 2004-05, however, the organization posted a deficit of $312,000—$259,000 lower than the target.
"The good news is that we exceeded our financial recovery targets by cutting expenses across most budget categories while increasing revenues across most sales and contribution categories," said COO David Green. "This is a more strategic and sustainable approach than a few drastic cuts or a small number of large donations, and gives us hope for the challenges of the next two years."