S. Idaho air show has cash flow problem

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:16 PM


TWIN FALLS, Idaho --The Blue Angels are still coming to Twin Falls, but parts of the show could be scaled back.

On Monday, the Twin Falls City Council voted to advance an additional $40,000 to organizers of the Magic Valley Air Show, to be held July 28-29.

There’s a catch: At next week’s meeting, organizers must present to the council a plan to reduce $20,000 from the budget in the last week before the show if ticket sales are not on track.

The amount is less than what air show director Jim O’Donnell requested. At Monday’s meeting, O’Donnell asked for the city to pay for expenses that come up between now and the event, "within budget."

When the council asked how much that may be, O’Donnell said he didn’t know, as some pledged sponsorships haven’t yet been paid.

O’Donnell said the majority of the show’s revenue will come from ticket sales, most of which come through in the week before the air show. The show organizers would use the ticket sales to pay back the city, O’Donnell said.

The total budget for the air show, which is independent from the city’s budget, is about $361,000, said City Manager Travis Rothweiler. That’s shaved down from the original $421,000 budget. Donations and sponsorships have taken care of some of that, but organizers need $187,000 to pay for other parts of the show, like hotel rooms for performers.

"In a sense, it’s like a leap of faith that ticket revenues are going to come in and be generated," Rothweiler said.

The 2008 air show generated a $21,513 deficit, paid for by Twin Falls County and the city.

While the council commended O’Donnell for his leadership in organizing the event, some expressed concern about issuing a blank check of taxpayer dollars to the show.

"I do not like the idea of an open checkbook," said councilman Jim Munn.

After the meeting, O’Donnell said he was disappointed, but added that he would find cuts to make.

"We can do it. We will do it," he said.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.