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Manager says The Commons finances on track


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The Commons has cut spending and increased revenue year-over-year through the first half of 2014.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department plans to ask the city for an additional $35,558 in The Commons’ budget next year to add hours for a part-time employee and fully insure its seven full-time employees.

Overall, The Commons is in good shape financially, said Shanda Sasse, who manages the center.

This year, the facility is running on a budget of $853,791, which includes $540,273 in economic development income tax, or EDIT, funds, according to a new report.

EDIT funds are collected as a local income tax, generating about $2.5 million a year for the city.

The Commons already has received more than half of its projected revenue, having already received its third-quarter payment of EDIT funds, which make up 63.3 percent of the facility’s budget.

Another large portion of the money the facility receives comes from event rentals, and that revenue is on pace to surpass a projected $125,000, said Jamie Brinegar, the parks department’s director of business services.

Overall foot traffic at The Commons also has increased, Sasse said, especially since Jordy McTaggart’s Grille and Pub opened. The lunch crowd has been bigger, she said, and the chatter in the lobby and in outdoor seating has seemed to be a lot louder than in the past.

“We have had a nice buzz for the summer,” she said.

Brinegar said the parks department is challenging The Commons to up that buzz even more, increasing proposed revenue from rentals from $125,000 to $135,000 next year. It’s a goal he said he’s confident the gathering space can meet.

“We feel very good about what happens at The Commons,” said Sherry Stark, Commons Board president.

And operations now are “becoming smooth enough,” she said, that the board no longer needs to meet every month.

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