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Pier Revenue Projected to Increase in New Fiscal Year

By Anita Varghese
Special to The Lookout

July 3 -- The Santa Monica Pier will see a 17-percent boost in revenues during the 2007-08 fiscal year thanks to an influx of cash from the City, which reaps millions in marketing benefits from the historic wooden structure, according to projections by the Pier Restoration Corporation.

Revenues are projected at $835,300, up from the $713,100 brought in during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the latest Budget and Work Plan developed by the nonprofit City agency.

The primary source of revenue is a $489,300 grant from the City, which reflects enhancements of $40,000 to support the Twilight Dance Series and $15,000 for the 100th anniversary planning efforts.

“The City had the wisdom to save the Santa Monica Pier in 1979 and has had the foresight to invest in the Pier over the years to ensure its preservation and success,” said Ben Franz-Knight, PRC executive director.

Additional revenues will come from Pier sponsorships, special events, filming, promotions and licensing.

Given the talent scheduled to perform on the giant wooden structure, the PRC could bring in an additional $12,400 more from Twilight Dance Series sponsors, said Miriam Mack, an economic development manager for the City. Acts performing during the 10-week free concert series include rock legend Patti Smith and Los Lobos.

By assuming responsibility for booking special events at the Carousel, Mack said the PRC also anticipates a $42,700 revenue stream that the agency did not have last fiscal year.

The City currently has a one-year Carousel booking contract with an outside operator that is set to expire in January 2008. City staff is looking into transitioning booking responsibilities to the PRC.

Given that the PRC is a nonprofit agency, expenditures will also increase by 17 percent from the previous year’s adjusted budget. The increases will to pay the salary of one new PRC employee, who will manage events, filming activities and special weekend activities, Mack said.

Also rising are health insurance costs and other benefits for employees, as well as the PRC’s marketing budget, which reflects new costs for cooperative efforts with the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, for printing marketing communications materials and for Web site management.

The primary focus for PRC staff during fiscal year 2007-2008 will be planning for the Pier’s 100th anniversary, according to the agency’s Work Plan.

Staff plans to install plaques commemorating the Pier’s history and an exhibit on the deck area, and organize a community-based committee to help plan a year’s worth of anniversary events.

Continued productions and annual events hosted or co-hosted by the Pier include Wake Up the Waves, the Junior Acoustic Music Series, Taste of Santa Monica, the Special Olympics Pier del Sol and Celebration of the Arts.

“Serving a diverse mix of visitors and providing a vast array of activities, the Santa Monica Pier is an internationally recognized icon of great value to the City and its residents,” said Franz-Knight.

One Work Plan goal accomplished in fiscal year 2006-2007 was the creation of a Pier Fund Ad Hoc Committee, which released its first report last month in an effort to clearly convey the City’s Pier Fund revenues and expenses.

The ad hoc committee, convened by the PRC, recommended that Pier-related revenues and expenses be isolated within the City’s budget to reduce the need for inter-fund transfers and give the public a better picture of the Pier’s financial impact on the City’s budget.

The report concludes that the Pier generates a surplus to the City. Committee members have issues with a recently released City-calculated $821,461 operating loss.

A surplus would result if consideration were given to the Pier for helping generate business taxes, sales taxes, film fees and half of the revenues from the public parking lot at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway.

Although direct revenues from the Pier do not pay for the capital improvements to the structure, the marketing value the City receives when the Pier appears in television commercials or movies is an indirect benefit to the City, according to the report.

During fiscal year 2005-2006, the marketing value of television and movie appearances was estimated to be $46 million, according to PRC staff.

“The Santa Monica Pier is a net contributor to the City’s operating budget,” said Franz-Knight. “The iconic status of the Pier garners worldwide attention for Santa Monica, providing benefits that extend beyond the modest footprint of the Pier’s historic wooden deck.”

 

“The Santa Monica Pier is a net contributor to the City’s operating budget.”
Ben Franz-Knight.

 

 

 

 

 

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