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updated: 8/20/2013 1:12 PM

Metropolis leader says finances are looking up

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Although the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre ended its last fiscal year with a deficit and a need for increased village funding, Executive Director Charlie Beck said the situation is changing for the positive.

"We're off to a real good start," Beck said. He referenced increased enrollment in summer camps and positive donation trends.

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He said a renovation of the second floor of the center will be complete by Labor Day, and the village board on Monday approved a $33,780 bid for a new stage sound system at the theater, also to be completed soon.

The money for the sound system and second-floor renovations were planned in the village budget for this year and also supported by donations.

The last fiscal year ended April 30 with a deficit for Metropolis, even after Beck stopped taking a salary in February and revamped the theater's programming schedule midyear.

During budget meetings in February, the Metropolis was predicted to end the fiscal year with a $300,000 deficit.

For fiscal year 2014, which began May 1, the Metropolis will receive its annual village subsidy of $160,000, in addition to $32,000 for equipment replacement.

The Metropolis also will use up to $125,000 of reserves from the village's Arts, Entertainment and Events fund for improvements including the sound system and second-floor renovations.

A task force of community members has been studying the theater's finances, budgeting, programming, marketing and strategic planning and will make recommendations to the Metropolis board.

"It's too early in the year to say how things will end up, but it's looking pretty good," Beck said

He also mentioned the annual Sunday Soiree fundraiser, which is planned for Sept. 29. Last year the event was not held at the Metropolis, and Beck said attendance was much lower.

This year the event will be held at the Metropolis Ballroom and ticket sales have already surpassed half of last year's attendance, Beck said.

Beck said he's cautiously optimistic for the rest of the year and a strong fall season of shows.

"There have been some good indicators, but we don't want to jinx it," he said. "If people want to help, the answer is simple: Come see a show."

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