Modesto Centre Plaza a step closer to outsourcing option
MODESTO, May 15, 2012 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A City Council committee voted 3-0 this morning to recommend negotiations that could lead to owners of the DoubleTree Hotel taking over management of Modesto Centre Plaza.
Mayor Garrad Marsh and councilmen Dave Geer and Joe Muratore supported the outsourcing option after considering five alternatives for improving the bottom line at the convention center.
The Centre Plaza was the centerpiece of Modesto's downtown revitalization when it was built in the late 1980s. In recent years, operating the convention has cost the city $500,000 to $700,000 a year, money that could be used for public safety and other services.
The DoubleTree Hotel, which owns half of the center, would use its parent company's resources to market the city-owned conference facilities for conventions, trade shows and other events. No details of a potential contract were discussed at the meeting this morning.
The council members said that if negotiations with the DoubleTree are not successful, a backup plan will be to adjust fees and downsize the city staff team that manages the center.
Auditors estimated that an outsourcing arrangement for Modesto Centre Plaza could reduce the general fund subsidy to $75,000 or less.With a city staff reorganization, the city would have to kick in $250,000 to $375,000 to cover payroll costs and other expenses of running the center.
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