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Burlington Deal Still Alive Despite "No" Vote

Oct 1, 2013

The Burlington City Council has voted down a proposed management contract for Memorial Auditorium so it can be brought up again for a future vote.

Burlington Memorial Auditorium

The city council has been considering an offer from VenuWorks for months.  

The city would pay the Ames, IA-based company more than $400,000 over five years to manage the riverfront facility and book performance acts and events.

The city council has been scheduled to vote on the contract multiple times in recent months, only to delay them so negotiations could continue.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says this week's decision to vote down the contract is actually a good thing because it will no longer show up on every city council agenda.

"The way we have been doing it limited our flexibility on when we brought it back," says Ferneau, "so now we will just bring it back on the specific date we know we can take some action."

Ferneau says the city, VenuWorks, and the organizing committee for Burlington Steamboat Days are still trying to decide how future alcohol permits will be issued.

Steamboat Days organizers are worried they will not have the flexibility need to handle year-round events connected to the week-long summer music festival along the Mississippi River.

Ferneau says there are downsides to such a lengthy delay: a late start to booking 2014 events and a staffing shortfall at the auditorium due to transfers and retirements.