LANCASTER, Wis. – Lancaster Common Council members recently voted to start negotiations on a three-year contract with State Theatres to continue to operate Grantland Theatre at Lancaster City Hall.
State Theatres wasn’t looking for a three-year contract but instead hoped to keep the lease payment at $6,000 per year and to have a $500 maintenance of equipment fund removed.
Duane DeYoung, of State Theatres, told City Administrator David Carlson in an email that the company has operated Grantland Theatre “as a community service more than anything.” DeYoung said “we appear to be losing $200 a month” and that he hoped that gap would be closed in the next year.
As the discussion on the issue progressed during the council meeting, it became one of “Grantland Theatre is a great service to the community.” Council Member Brett Rollins made that comment, saying the theater always has stepped forward to help the local school district. Council Member Matt Pennekamp agreed, and Council Member Shane LaBudda then made the motion to have the city offer to negotiate a three-year contract with State Theatres. The motion also says if State Theatres doesn’t want a three-year contract, the city should work out a one-year deal.
Council Member Bob Schmidt questioned the losses that State Theatre listed, asking Carlson if he had seen the books of the company. When Carlson said he had not, Schmidt said the council could not take the losses as a fact.
“I’m not arguing that it’s a get-rich-quick scheme because it is not, but you haven’t seen the books so you don’t know,” Schmidt said.
Ultimately, LaBudda’s motion to negotiate a three-year contract was approved 4-2 vote, with Schmidt and Joel Ingrebritsen voting against it.