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Burlington Delays Auditorium Vote

Sep 4, 2013

Burlington is still trying to work out the details of a plan to privatize the management of Memorial Auditorium.

Burlington Memorial Auditorium

The city asked for bids, earlier this year, from companies that would be interested in booking events and performers for the riverfront facility.

Only one company expressed an interest.  VenuWorks (Ames, IA) presented the city with a five-year contract that covers fees and royalties.

The city council was scheduled to vote on the contract on September 3, but chose to delay action.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says more time is needed because Burlington is also working on a new agreement with Burlington Steamboat Days (BSD).

He says the final language in one contract would affect the other, especially when it comes to concerns BSD has about securing future liquor licenses.

Ferneau says due to previous delays, time is of the essence when it comes to the negotiations.

He says the city considered privatization because of upcoming retirements and transfers at the auditorium.

"As we had these discussions go on, we had employees who were working at the auditorium move around into other positions," says Ferneau, "(so) we are seriously understaffed there.  We need to have a decision, one way or another, about how we operate that auditorium."

Ferneau says at this point, the city has been working separately with VenuWorks and with Burlington Steamboat Days and the two organizations have been working together.

He says at this point, there has been very little contact between the three at the same time.