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Local News

Rialto Square Theatre finance manager gives payroll warning for August

The exterior of the Rialto is seen in January 2016. According to Finance Manager Dale Evans, the theater may not be able to meet payroll in August.
The exterior of the Rialto is seen in January 2016. According to Finance Manager Dale Evans, the theater may not be able to meet payroll in August.

JOLIET – The Rialto Square Theatre has been meeting payroll, but August could be a challenge, the theater’s finance manager said last week.

Dale Evans assessed the payroll situation when asked by a Rialto board member at the body’s monthly meeting.

“We’ve met payroll through this particular month,” Evans said. “It’s not looking very good for three pay periods in August. We currently have $30,000. Things are slim.”

Board member Mary Beth Gannon asked about the payroll, although Evans’ response was not followed up by any discussion about the Rialto’s financial situation.

The theater’s regular payroll is about $80,000 a month, Evans said.

The payroll fluctuates when stagehands and other crews have to be hired for shows, which also generate revenue to pay for additional staffing costs. Pay and benefits totaled nearly $196,000 in April.

But the Rialto has virtually stopped booking shows during a management restructuring that is entering its fifth month, after former General Manager Randy Green was put on leave.

A $30,000 cash balance is a sharp plunge from the nearly $159,000 cash balance at the end of June listed in the Rialto’s latest cash flow statement.

Board Chairman Dan Vera said after the Wednesday meeting that the $30,000 figure does not reflect rental income still coming in.

The Rialto is generating money, even without many shows, through theater rentals for weddings and other events, as well as through office leases. Theater receipts in June totaled nearly $145,000. Rent from office space was nearly $57,000.

But the Rialto continues to struggle to pay bills.

Evans also told the board that
MidAmerican Energy Co., the Rialto’s electric supplier, was dropping them because of unpaid bills. He said the Rialto would by default become a customer of ComEd.

Total bills to be paid in June were nearly $524,000, according to the cash flow statement. That included $356,000 in bills that were four months old or older.

The amount of bills at least four months old has been growing since March when it was $248,000.

The Rialto board parted ways with Green amid a controversy over unpaid payroll taxes that have since been paid.

The board had been seeking a replacement for Green, but decided in June to turn instead to an outside management firm to run the theater and its office space. Five companies have submitted proposals that the board has begun to review.

Vera said last week that he expected the Rialto might choose a management company in about six weeks.

The board also is seeking bids on the Two Rialto Square office property that it plans to sell.

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