Rio Nuevo Approves Budget for Fiscal 2016 and Approves Fox Theatre Agreement Organization

The Rio Nuevo Board approved its budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2015. The budget includes expenses of $10,245,294, slightly more than the prior year’s expenses of $10,193,848. Staff was awarded a 2.5% salary increase and the remaining increase is primarily in marketing dollars spent on projects designed to drive customers into TIF merchants. The Board expects the 2016 revenue to be over $18,000,000.

New projects include events at Park Place and El Con Malls, Sunshine Mile, as well as downtown. The Board also approved the placement of two touch screen kiosks downtown that will provide real time data about adjacent activities and food and beverage specials.

Rio Nuevo will help organize and fund a State of Downtown luncheon, support the Iron Chef competition, if held downtown, and fund four movie premiers designed to attract customers to El Con and Park Place. The District now collects almost $250,000 annually in non-state revenue, $160,000 of that will go to support these programs that increase TIF merchant customers.

The Board also unanimously approved the modified agreement with the Fox Theatre Foundation. In December, Rio Nuevo provided the funds to remove the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the byzantine relationship between Rio Nuevo and the Fox Foundation. The simplified agreement confirms that the Fox Foundation is Rio Nuevo’s tenant with annual payments of approximately $90,000 back to Rio Nuevo. Rio Nuevo Board will place five members on the Fox board and has entered into restrictions that will prohibit the Fox from entering into new debt, changing its organizational structure, hiring or firing its CEO without Rio Nuevo approval.

The Board took no action on the TCC Phase II proposal of nearly $10,000,000 to upgrade the ballroom, meeting rooms and locker rooms. Other proposals, including new meeting room space and exhibition hall improvements, could require an additional $25,000,000. The Board agreed to meet with the City of Tucson to explore alternatives to fund the projects.

The Board heard a presentation from historical and merchant representatives for the Sunshine Mile (Broadway from Euclid to County Club) and agreed to get back together after the final decision is made regarding the Broadway widening.