The Niagara Holiday Market ran last year from November 26 to December 31 and every dime of public money - $225,000 from the city and $251,000 from the state, through USA Niagara, is gone.
After the final bills are paid, less than $1,000 will remain in the account.
The Market’s chief promoters, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, USA Niagara President Chris Schoeplin and the developer of the market, Mark Rivers, from Boise, Idaho, have said the market was a good first try, a nice effort – and that it only lost $31,000.
The facts is the Market lost all $476,000 of the public’s money, plus all the money various sponsors contributed, plus all the money it took in revenue, plus $31,000.
By true accounting standards, the Market lost $676,322.
So how come its promoters claim it only lost $32,000?
Because they are counting public money not as a capital contribution or investment (that was lost) but oddly as income to the Market.
That’s right, the expense of the public’s money is counted as their income.
It doesn’t work that way in the real world.
Using the same rough numbers as the Holiday Market, as an example, if you started a business and invested $476,000 of your own money and got investors to put in another $257,000 in cash or donations of their time or services (called in-kind services) and all you made from your business was $90,000 from actual income, and you spent every dime of the money invested by you and others to operate your business, you would show a loss of $675,000. Not $31,000.
The money that the public spent on the Holiday Market should not be reported to the public as income. But it has been reported that way.
To hear them tell it, the public hardly lost a thing – a mere $31,000.
But keep in mind your tax dollars are gone: $477,000 of it. To report it that way, to spin it to the media, only attempts to disguise the fact that the Holiday Market lost every dime the pubic invested and all the public has left to show for it is 30 wooden sheds.
The promoters had no metric measurements in place to measure attendance, sales tax, jobs created. Everything they offer about the public benefits are purely anecdotal. In the real world of business, where people spend their own money, and it should be the same when public dollars are spent or squandered, the Market would be classified as one truly spectacular failure.
Total net loss for the Holiday Market is: $676,323