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Rialto Theatre: What Agreement?

Wayne Horne | 12/22/2016, 6 a.m.
This time of the year is when the City of Joliet passes the Budget. The procedure seldom passes without some ...

This time of the year is when the City of Joliet passes the Budget. The procedure seldom passes without some controversy and this year is no exception. In past years, issues such as declining gaming revenue, budget deficits, who will occupy Silver Cross Field, the Evergreen Terrace housing complex, the new Intermodal Transportation Center, tax increases, etc. took center stage. This year it’s the plight of the Rialto Theatre.

The focus is on whether or not the City Council should authorize a $500,000 subsidy for the venue. According to some the future of the Rialto hinges on who has control of the operation of the theater. Some have suggested the City can’t afford to fund the Rialto without jeopardizing city operations.

Perhaps. But Tuesday’s City Council meeting witnessed a revision in the idea that the City of Joliet “takeover” operational control of the Rialto. The Resolution requesting the State of Illinois General Assembly transfer title from the governing board of the Rialto to the City of Joliet was removed from the agenda. Instead, the Council passed a motion to include a $500,000 subsidy in the City of Joliet 2017 Budget.

Granting the subsidy is contingent on an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between the City of Joliet and the Rialto governing board. According to Mayor Bob O’Dekirk’s statement at the Tuesday Council meeting the two boards were in agreement on the IGA.

After the meeting, I asked Councilman Larry Hug for a copy of the agreement. He said there was no copy available to him. I also contacted the Chairman of the Rialto board, Dan Vera, who said the board had sent an agreement three weeks ago, requesting any proposed changes by the City. To date, the City has not publicly responded.

Apparently, the public celebration complementing the City of Joliet for granting the Rialto subsidy of $500,000 is a bit premature. It has been widely reported that it’s a done deal. There is no IGA between the two parties that need to agree on the terms. Where’s the Agreement? There was no agreement attached to any portion of Tuesday’s Council agenda and until the agreement is public and signed by both parties, any subsidy to the Rialto cannot be consummated as per the Tuesday motion to include it in the 2017 City of Joliet Budget. The two sides have no scheduled meetings until next year.

One last thing… The season to be “jolly” is upon us again. The greetings of Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas are still being used interchangeably, sometimes to the disappointment of those who quarrel over which is the proper salutation. The greeting I favor most can be used anytime but it’s heard most often during this time of the year -- “Peace on Earth.” Peace is always elusive someplace on earth and this year is no exception.

One of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit is through some of the old movies, with that spirit of the season themes. I found many lists while researching the best of holiday movies. Almost all of the lists contained the following five favorites. Leading most reviews was “Miracle on 34th Street.” It embodies all the feelings we most often demonstrate this time of the year. They include defending Santa Claus as real (isn’t he?), buying presents, being charitable, good will towards all and generosity. There’s even political correctness and moral satisfaction involved.

The following four movies were on most lists: “it’s A Wonderful Life”, “A Christmas Story”, A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Holiday Inn” which gave birth to Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas.” I usually watch some of them multiple times. I remember watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” one year at least 10 times before and after Christmas. Always makes me feel good about everything.

One website that ranked the top 100 Best Christmas Movies of All Time is called www.nerve.com. If you can’t find your favorite Christmas season movie listed, you don’t care for the genre.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

Stay tuned…