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Logan Municipal Council Approves $150K One-Time Funding For Opera

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Logan Municipal Council Approves $150K One-Time Funding For Opera

News.hjnews.com reports that the Logan Municipal Council voted to approve $150,000 dollars in one-time funding assistance for the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. This decision came after a long period of debate over the long-term life of UFOMT.

There are, however, conditions that must be met before the funding is received. UFOMT "must announce a 2018 season and release a budget, Logan's mayor and the Cache County executive will appoint a representative to the opera's board of directors, the opera must enact a continuity and succession plan, and the board of directors must approve changes in UFOMT bylaws that provide assurance of improved financial and operational policies."

This summer the opera's founding director Michael Ballam announced the opera could not carry on due to monetary issues. Before this announcement, Ballam wrote to Cache County Council members stating that the opera would change its mission to a "foundation that would support arts organizations in Salt Lake and Iron Counties," a decision based on lacking support from Logan and Cache counties.

Later, Marc Ensign, who is chairman of the opera's board of directors, assured the public in an early August meeting that there would be a 2018 season. Ensign told The Herald Journal that a UFOMT annuity had been used up, which created the budget shortfall.

There were mixed feelings among the public as to whether or not UFOMT should receive special funding. Some said that UFOMT was an invaluable part of Logan County's arts history, while others believed there were plenty of other arts organizations in the area to fill the void should UFOMT stop operation.

Council member Jean Simmonds offered an alternative solution, proposing to structure the payment of $150,000 dollars as a loan which would be forgiven at the completion of the 2018 season. However, no other council members discussed or voted on this resolution.

Council member Holly Daines suggested two amendments to the original resolution. "The first would ensure that the new representative to the UFOMT board of directors has 'financial expertise,' and the second would require the UFOMT to provide Logan and Cache County with quarterly financial statements until the end of 2018."

Tom Jensen motioned to approve these amendments, and a third amendment was also added, which allows Logan's mayor and the chair of the Cache City Council to "be in consultation to execute the conditions of the payment." In the end, the Municipal Council members voted unanimously to approve the funding assistance.

Photo: ustahfestival.org


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