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Local News

Joliet council votes Tuesday on Rialto Square Theatre agreement

The Rialto Square Theatre is seen in a January 2016 file photo in Joliet. The Rialto board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city Thursday.
The Rialto Square Theatre is seen in a January 2016 file photo in Joliet. The Rialto board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city Thursday.

JOLIET – The Joliet City Council on Tuesday is slated to vote on an agreement that appears to be aimed at part in reducing fiscal surprises from the Rialto Square Theatre in 2017.

The Rialto board approved the agreement Thursday before resigning as a group for reasons not made clear.

The agreement was first proposed by the Rialto in early December in an attempt to budge the city at a time when it appeared the theater would not get the $500,000 in city funding sought for 2017.

The intergovernmental agreement does contain several elements not in the proposal made by the Rialto.

"I think it's something from a legal perspective that we can live with," Rialto attorney David Silverman told the board before it voted.

One issue that will have to be addressed, Silverman noted, is that the agreement requires the Rialto to sign up VenuWorks, the company now managing the theater, for at least a one-year contract before it gets any city money. VenuWorks is now operating on a three-month contract through March, which was just approved Thursday.

The intergovernmental agreement itself is a one-year deal, which is a change from the Rialto proposal that would have guaranteed four years of funding.

The city will provide $500,000 in 2017 in two payments, which was in the Rialto proposal.

One condition is that the Rialto must put on 30 shows by June 30 to get the remaining $250,000 of the subsidy. The Rialto proposed the performance standard, although the number of shows was still to be determined.

Silverman said VenuWorks, which also books shows, views the performance target as "doable and not unrealistic."

The final version of the agreement adds three stipulations for funding:

• The Rialto must pay payroll taxes in a timely manner, which was the issue that ignited the theater's yearlong crisis in 2016;

• The Rialto must pay for its 2016 audit, which became an issue in December;

• The Rialto cannot seek additional funds from the city in 2017.

The final agreement includes the same provisions for city access to financial records that the Rialto had proposed.

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INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT

• City provides $500,000 in two installments.

• Rialto must stage 30 shows by June 30 to get second installment.

• Rialto must contract with VenuWorks for at least one year before getting any money.

• Rialto must provide any financial records and contracts to city for review.

• Rialto provides city with monthly reports on finances, shows and events.

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