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COUNCIL SHOULD SAY NO TO ANOTHER MULTI-PLEX
Posted on Tuesday, September 20 @ 01:08:25 CDT by van

News and Views Perhaps this is the first time ever, I am going on record agreeing with former Lincoln mayor Don Wesely! Don circle this date on your calendar, it may never happen again. Wesely, among others attended a meeting of the Lincoln City Council which had on its docket today consideration of the Planning Commission's recommendation to deny the building of another multi-plex theater in our city as part of a proposed major expansion in the south part of town.

I think Wesely hit the nail on the head when he pointed out, that while he was mayor, the City of Lincoln in essence gave its word, when it entered into an arrangement with Douglas Theater Company to use Tax Increment Financing to fund the development of "The Grand" (a downtown multi-plex movie theater facility with a large number of screens), the city would not allow another "multi-plex" to be built in the near future. As former mayor Don pointed out, in the agreement, there exists language to the extend that if the city reneges on its word, "The Grand" and the property on which it resides will be re-evaluated downwards so Douglas Theater Company will not be paying back in taxes, as much as it otherwise would on the debt. That translates to you and I, the taxpayers, having to underwrite (THAT MEANS WE WILL HAVE TO COUGH UP MORE PROPERTY TAX MONEY) a part of the bond indebtedness.

Some call it "protectionist government", but I call it good sense. If the members of the Lincoln City Council have sense enough to hold off allowing another multi-plex in our city for around nine or ten years (the remaining period left on the bonds used to finance The Grand) then the council can do what it likes with regard to any more similar facilities. I suspect we will see in the near future if any of our council members are "bought" or at least "rented" by the developer involved. Will any of them vote to screw the taxpayers of Lincoln by "sucking up" to pressures being applied by one or more council lobbyists? Time will tell (AND SO WILL I).

I don't believe there would be much objection to smaller movie houses being built in new developing areas, but that is apparently not what developers want. Right now, north Lincoln would be a great place for a six screen theater. Douglas has such a facility on schedule for 2007, but I think that time should be pushed up a bit.

On the other side of the coin, maybe when Douglas Theater Company gets some competition, the cost of "movie food" - popcorn and soda - will be reduced. Maybe our attorney general who has problems with finding we are being "price gouged" by local "filling stations" needs to look into the matter of overpriced "movie food."

The cost of a 20 ounce Coke at any of the Douglas theaters in town is $2.00. There are 128 ounces in a gallon and 20 goes into that 6.4 times. That means Cokes at the theaters are selling at $12.80 per gallon. Thank God our cars don't run on Douglas theater soda pop. Most folks don't know that Douglas Theater Company buys Coke syrup in such a large volumes that it ranks along with McDonalds. That is probably why you see Coca Cola commercials on the before movie slide shows in Douglas theaters. That means the actual cost of the soda to the theater which sells for two bucks is actually pennies. The mark-up or profit on pop corn is even more obscene.

This perhaps gives Ken Svoboda and company something to consider as a negotiating tool to use when considering how each will vote in a week or so.

VansOpinion
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