City renews $80k contract with UCPAC

City Council renewed an $80,000 contract with the Union County Performing Arts Center to provide “technical and programming assistance” for downtown events and certain programs offered at the facility.

The governing body adopted a resolution (AR-52-17) during its regular meeting last night. The measure was unanimously approved with no comments from the public or City Council members.

UCPAC from arts parkThe resolution authorized the execution of an agreement with UCPAC “to provide technical and programming assistance on an as-needed basis for certain arts-based events offered by” the city, for both its Main Stage and Hamilton Stage facilities. The resolution stipulates that the amount of compensation will not exceed $80,000.

It’s at least the third consecutive year that the governing body has awarded a contract to the performing arts center for technical and programming assistance. City Council authorized similar contracts in the same amount in April 2015 as well as March 2016.

UPDATED, March 6: An Open Public Records Act (OPRA) for bills and invoices by UCPAC to the city show a total of about $56,000 for 2016 ($10,000 for the State of the City; $10,000 for a Black History Month event, and $36,000 for the Mayor’s Summer Concert Series). For 2015, the bills totaled about $70,000 ($50,000 for pre-production design and technical production planning for the mayor’s concert series, $5,000 for artist consulting on the series, $6,000 for staffing costs on the concert series, $5,000 for artist deposits for the winter wonderland, $2,000 for pre-production costs for the Halloween event, and $1,500 for pre-production costs for Hamilton Stage gala).

While the resolution indicates the compensation as not exceeding $80,000, City Administrator Cherron Rountree confirmed during a brief interview after last night’s meeting that the city typically has reached the $80,000 level. In the past, the arts center and staff have been used for some downtown events during the year in addition to the facility on Irving Street being used for things like educational programming for children.

Hamilton Stage.completeThe 88-year-old UCPAC on Irving Street reported a slight increase in revenue, according to tax forms filed for its most recent fiscal year, ending June 2015. Union County acquired the 1,334-seat facility in 2006, leasing it back to the nonprofit, and completed a $6.2-million renovation and expansion in 2008. The 199-seat Hamilton Stage was built in 2012 for almost $6 million.

Both facilities have been nominated for JerseyArts.com’s People Choice Awards. UCPAC is up for Favorite Large Performing Arts Center. Hamilton Stage is included in the Favorite Smaller Performing Arts Center category. Voting ends on Thursday.

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