Printed on: September 28, 2013

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This week the Post Register asked readers if it's worth it for taxpayers to foot the bill for money losers such as the Civic Auditorium and Tautphaus Park Zoo. What follows is a sampling of responses:

POSTED: Tuesday

Brandon Pearson: "If you go to the San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park, you'll see that certain exhibits are sponsored. Usually by a local business, or by a vendor from the Zoo. Many of the large cats eat raw zoo diets from Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc., so you see the Natural Balance logo scattered all over the zoo. Good press for the company, and the zoo gets their back scratched in return. Seeing the Melaleuca Marmoset exhibit may be a turnoff to some, but sponsorship dollars can help soften the blow for any publicly owned facility."

Katie Jennings: "Of course it is. It creates a certain quality of life. Besides, I'd rather we waste money on things that bring culture and business to our community as opposed to something that doesn't add anything at all."

Bill Toth: "Why not seek corporate sponsors like the San Diego Zoo; good approach. Perhaps some of the service clubs would be willing to sponsor exhibits as well. It would be nice to see a detailed budget for the Zoo, so folks understand where the money goes and comes from."

Linda Carter Beck: "Stay open later in the day in the summer so you can staff the zoo after 5 p.m.; so many more families could take advantage of hours when the parents are off work. Why close at 5 p.m.?"

Don Smale: "I live in the Vegas area, with 2 million people and we cannot support a Zoo. Loved the Tautphaus Zoo there when I lived there and surprised at how well the community of IF supported it. Like Bill Toth's ideas about the sponsorship angle for the Zoo."

Lynn Ludlam Bybee: "There are things that are not worth losing money on and there are some that are. The zoo is one that is. I agree with the suggestion to keep it open later -- then the families with working parents would be able to come in the evenings and support it."

Kane Kuchynka: "Venues that provide culture, family entertainment and tourism dollars should not be neglected in any city, especially in Idaho Falls. Are there some potential cost savings and sponsorship opportunities? Sure. Should cities like I.F. lessen cultural opportunities for citizens in order to save a few dollars per taxpayer at the end of the year? Absolutely not! My suggestion is to place the proposed water park at Tautphaus and make it more of a "destination location." Couple that with the events center and a smart, targeted "advertising campaign" to the hundreds of thousands of people who pass through our city every year, and we can make up on those shortfalls. Culture, like our zoo and the Civic Auditorium, make I.F. a better place to live, and creates growth."

Cheryl Siedelmann: "Why do we think everything has to pay for itself? IF roads don't break even either but they're worth paying for and so is the zoo."

Dennis Patrick Dailey: "Regarding the Civic Auditorium, what about marketing it towards other specialty groups or events? (example) Halloween; have a screening of some children's Halloween movies and when the movies are over, have a costume contest on stage (give away prizes). On the other hand, have a screening of "scarier" movies for older people and do the same. (Price of admittance to be charged). Market the "civic" to other classifications, such as bridal shows, showcase local art talent, have a "local" tattoo convention (there are many of these businesses in town, give them a chance to show their talents. Have a local "fastest grocery bagger" in Idaho falls contest. Send invites to all stores that have baggers. Have a wine show, showcasing the different wines that restaurants in town sell, to educate people on wine. Just a few ideas."

Crystal Allen: "The various singing and dance groups our children belong to have never charged a recital fee for us to see them 1-2 times a year. I'm sure the leaders of each group are charged some kind of fee to hold a major performance there, but we are not against paying a reasonable admission fee if the money goes directly to the civic/city."