Carnival Costs Not Amusing

The Carnival Center in Miami recently received a big-time bailout from local commissioners, who approved an additional $4.1 million for the floundering PAC.

Lackluster ticket sales along with security, maintenance and utility cost overruns more than doubled the projected budget for the center, which opened in October 2006 and was reportedly allocated $3.75 million for its first year of operation.

Carnival Center COO Terea Hebert told Miami Today that PAC officials had made a few mistakes in the year’s budgeting but were committed to moving forward and keeping occupancy costs on target.

"Mistakes happen in the first year," Hebert said. "The center did what they thought they should do: Hire a consultant who knows what they’re doing. And they took the advice of the consultant, and they budgeted accordingly to what the consultant recommended."

But those mistakes concerned some Miami-Dade County commissioners, who only agreed to approve the additional $4.1 million given some concessions.

Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said this was the last time she’d be voting in favor of saving the PAC, according to the Miami Herald.

Sosa questioned why Carnival Center officials hadn’t developed "a realistic marketing plan, taking into consideration the mistakes of the past; an energy savings plan; a comparison between security – Miami police officers’ cost versus private."

County Manager George Burgess echoed those sentiments, writing in a recent review that the commission should consider new management or take control of the center if the current management couldn’t improve the PAC’s bottom line, the paper said.

Carnival Center officials will have at least one more shot at making the PAC work.

Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser reportedly arrived in the city July 9th with a team of executives to conduct a "peer review" of the center’s operations and offer advice to improve the PAC’s financial condition.

Kaiser told the Herald that through superior programming and marketing, arts organizations can maximize revenues.