MV Council holds work session with Vali 3 board

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista City Council and City Manager Gigi Dennis met on Wednesday, Jan. 4, with the Vali 3 Theater Board to discuss the possible closure of the movie theater.

Dennis opened the work session.

“I would like to thank the board for all that they have done to keep the theater going,” Dennis said. “The board is here to turn the keys back over to the city. They have run out of money. They have run out of their inventories. They do not have the capacity to continue doing what they have been doing with the theater.  I would like to thank these five individuals because it has primarily been them who have kept this place afloat for all these years, with the addition of community members who have stepped in to volunteer. I think that they have done an awesome job, and they have dedicated many hours to the theatre, so thank you very much for what all of you have done.”

Dennis had asked the board to prepare what the monthly expenses look like for the theater, along with the theatre’s monthly income, as well as any repairs and maintenance that may need to be done.

Dennis said that this would all be presented at this work session with the understanding that no decision could be made during the meeting. Dennis said that a decision could, however, be made at the council meeting that would be held the following night.

“We basically have two choices,” Dennis said. “One, temporarily close the theater. We have an RFP out (Request for Proposal), that is not due until March 1; taking into consideration any proposals that folks want to submit. Folks can take over and purchase or, if they want to propose this as a lease, with these proposals being there for your consideration. I would estimate that even if we could extradite this in some fashion, this along with the closing will not completely take place until the first part of June. The other option is that the city takes over the expenses of the theater, so that the theater can remain operational on the weekends, as well as their weekly hourly shifts. We can find the financial resources, just not the people resources, this would have to be done over time by the theater board.”

Dennis then called up the City’s Finance Director Anita Kinsey, who gave a financial breakdown of the theater’s expenses, by speaking and passing out documentation to everyone at the meeting.

Kinsey explained that the documents were financial sheets from 2014 through June of 2022 and would give council members an idea of how much everything at the theater cost the city to operate.

“The line items are salaries, benefits, supplies, etc., throughout that time,” Kinsey said. “With the overall expense being $272,000 for that time period. The other sheet I passed out is an analysis of what the theatre reimbursed the city, the income and revenue we received, and that was a total of $71,000. So, through ought that time, the city spent $200,000.”

Caroline Gonzales, manager for the Vali 3 Theater, then spoke.

“What I have done is show a cost for the monthly bills every month, this is exactly what I pay,” Gonzales said. “The amount is $2,623.59, that includes our salary with these bills. This amount does not include what we owe the film company though, and I am going to explain that first. It takes $200 for me to get a movie. This weekend is the perfect example of some of this. This weekend I had to pay $500 for the movie ‘Avatar’ up-front cost. Their terms are either $200 or 65%. The way this works is we have to call in a gross each night. We have to let them know what we made that night. I will use the first and second week of this movie as the example. I mailed them the up-front cost of $500. Again, the terms are $200 or 65%. In 3 nights, we made $793. Remember that is $793 times 65% which came out to be $515.45. I only wrote them a check for $15.45 because they had already gotten a check for $500. Does that make sense? The second week we made $418. I multiplied this by 65%, so I owe them $271. Then this last week we made about $693 again times 65%, so I need to write them a check for $450.45. I will wait until the final showing and then write them a check for all of that. That is what I really wanted to explain to everybody, it’s not just $200, for a movie. Another example is, say I only made $110 off the movie, they would take $200, the bottom line is $200 no matter what.”

Gonzales added that the theater was just done financially. She spoke of how when COVID-19 hit, that all they were doing to pay those monthly bills was selling popcorn on the weekends.

Gonzales also said that the board could no longer work together either, how they all worked on different nights, and it had been that way for the past 7 or so months that the theater was open

“Its not that we don’t want to keep the theatre open,” Gonzales said, “we do. The financial means though, we don’t have it.”

Council man Jason Lorenz asked Gonzales if the theater could fund itself if they had some money given to them. Gonzales said that she thought the theater could fund itself, but she needed money to pay the bills and continue to do what they were doing.

Gonzales was asked how much money she would need by Lorenz to fund the theatre for the next three months, and she stated $20,000.

City Manager Dennis reminded council members that there was an RFP out for anyone who wanted to purchase the theatre. There was no decision made at the meeting on the theatre, but the following night a unanimous decision was made to give the theatre $10,000, with the contingency to obtain a complete report from the theater board in March regarding the finances of the theater.