The Dunedin City Council will today discuss whether to
increase funding to the Regent Theatre.
Councillors asked for a report on the theatre's situation and
the arrangements between it and the council after the trust
that runs the theatre asked the council for $70,000 more this
financial year to meet increased compliance costs for its
upgraded building and an unexpected rates increase.
The council had decided to give the trust $30,000 extra,
increasing to $89,200 the annual amount it contributes to the
trust via a service level agreement for maintenance and
operating the theatre.
The council owns the building.
It also makes extra contributions, financial and through
other assistance, to assist with upkeep and compliance
requirements, is responsible for exterior maintenance of the
building and recently invested millions to upgrade the
theatre, a project for which the trust also raised more than
In a report to be considered by the council's community
development committee today, council community arts adviser
Cara Paterson says the roles and responsibilities of both
partners to the agreement, the Otago Theatre Trust and the
council, are unclear and need to be clarified.
She ruled out a lease and pay-back arrangement, which would
not resolve the problem, and suggested two options.
Either increase funding under the service level agreement to
cover the maintenance and extra compliance costs, or remove
responsibility and funding for ongoing compliance costs and
building/asset maintenance programme from the service level
agreement and increase the budget of the council's property
department, giving it responsibility for that work.
It was recommended a decision on the future investment in the
theatre should be made after a review of council civic grants
and service level agreements to take place this financial
year, and as part of the next annual plan process.
The aim of the review is to develop a method of creating
consistency in arrangements with community organisations
using council-owned buildings.
There is no consistent formula or rationale across the range
of community, arts or recreation facilities.
The report also notes that the trust intends to reduce the
size and change the make-up of its board, to one of no more
than nine members, and remove the requirement for three
council members on the board, changing the council's role to
that of an observer.
If an observer was agreed to, the appointment would be made
at the inaugural meeting of the new council following local
body elections in October.