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Cajundome facing major financial shortfalls

Posted at 6:35 AM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 07:35:16-04

The Cajundome is operating at a deficit of more than $425,000 this fiscal year.

Since the Dome opened in 1985, its received money almost every year from the city of Lafayette. Now, that money is dwindling.

The Cajundome is owned by UL who has an intergovernmental agreement with Lafayette Consolidated Government in case of budget shortfalls.

With less and less money coming into the Dome, Director Greg Davis is looking for ways to generate more revenue.

Davis said promoters look closely at both Louisiana’s and Lafayette’s economies.

“It’s causing promoters to think that the market is not strong enough for the major touring live entertainment events,” said Davis.

Despite its recent renovation, the Cajundome is not seeing as many events come its way. Without events, there’s no revenue.

“If we don’t get the event activity, if we don’t sell the tickets and get people in the building, then we don’t have the opportunity to make the money and we don’t make budget,” Davis said.

The Dome self-generates nearly 95% of its budget. Public records obtained by KATC going back the last five years show the Dome has consistently operated at a loss.

When there is a shortfall, LCG has an agreement to subsidize the budget.

“In the agreement, the City of Lafayette has agreed to subsidize the Cajundome up to $500,000 of operating subsidizes to help cover the operating deficit,” said Davis.

Since the Dome opened in 1985, the city has subsidized the Dome by nearly $12 million. The $500,000 the Dome is supposed to receive has been cut. In recent years, the city has given the Dome $396,000. That amount will drop to $372,000 next fiscal year.

“As a result, we are having to downsize the operation,” Davis said. “We have eliminated about eight positions from the operations of the Cajundome. As we go into next fiscal year, we will be able to recover from the operating deficit we’re facing this fiscal year.”

Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said one of his goals is for the Cajundome to become self-sustained.

“We’re happy to provide funding when we can,” said Robideaux. “I think most folks know the parish is limited on what resources we can provide. The city is still providing the supplement. It is my intention to keep that going.”

Robideaux believes the internal management of the Dome can focus on how to bring in more revenue, but if the Cajundome Commission feels otherwise, he’s open to exploring options.

“If bringing in an outside agency to manage the facility is something that would help make it self-sufficient, certainly, we should have that conversation,” Robideaux said.

Davis is optimistic the Dome will “make it out of this.”

As reported, Davis is set to retire in October. Long-time Cajundome employee Pam DeVille is set to take over as interim director.