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Now playing at The Chevy Centre: "The Bloviators"

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published April 25, 2009

Drip, drip, drip … That’s the sound of ice melting in the Chevrolet Centre from all the hot air being generated by the cast of “The Bloviators”  led by Todd “Don’t Worry Be Happy” Franko, Jay “McKelvey’s My Hero” Williams and Eric “Hey, I Got A Job” Ryan.

The huffing, puffing and blowing have been going on since late last week when Youngstown City Hall announced that the publicly owned sports/entertainment facility had made a profit in the first three months of the year.

But the $242,340 that was the cause of the giddy reaction from Vindicator Editor Franko, Youngstown Mayor Williams, Chevrolet Centre Director Ryan and others is a phantom number, Why? Because it was arrived at without taking into consideration the $200,515 the city will be paying each quarter this year in INTEREST ONLY on the $11.9 million loan it secured in 2005 for its portion of the $45 million construction cost of the publicly funded center.

The actual profit for the first quarter, therefore, is $41,825 — certainly not a justification for popping the Champagne bottles.

Indeed, Ryan has acknowledged that the next two quarters will not be profitable, but that the last three months will see a turnaround. He is projecting a $9,000 operating profit for this year.

Again, he, like Franko and Williams, has chosen to ignore this significant fact: The city of Youngstown’s operating budget for the year has $802,060 earmarked to pay the interest only on the $11.9 million loan.

It’s voodoo economics to contend that the interest payment isn’t an operating expense for the Chevrolet Centre.

Here’s a reality check for the cast of “The Bloviators”: The sports/entertainment complex is a money loser and it will continue to be so until it generates enough revenue to pay off the $11.9 million loan.

So, cool it with the hot air. The city can’t afford to keep replenishing the ice in the hockey arena.

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