Trustees William “Bud” Stalker (District 5) and Terry Vorderer (District 4) made comments in support of the taxpayer-funded, money-losing Oak Lawn Matters newspaper, despite mounting evidence showing that it will not meet its revenue goals.
As the Leaf recently outlined, Oak Lawn Matters has already lost taxpayers nearly $24,000 to date. There hasn’t been a single profitable issue yet. Despite these facts, which the Village Manager informed the Trustees about, Trustee Stalker devoted two full minutes of the September 13th Board of Trustees meeting to stating just how good an investment the newspaper has been.
“The Oak Lawn Matters newspaper has had a really decent return on investment in a short period of time,” Stalker said. “After three issues of publication, the annual revenue from committed advertising is listed at about $51,000.”
Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Oak Lawn, the annual cost of the newspaper is significantly higher. Every month, the newspaper costs the Village $9,147. Annually, that figure becomes $109,764. When that figure is offset by the committed advertising, the Village taxpayers are still losing nearly $60,000.
But all is rosy, according to Stalker, who stated that, “Just today, two new advertisers have come up looking for repeating full-page ads.”
While this might sound like significant progress, it still only puts a small dent in the total debt the Village is accumulating due to its newspaper. The Village receives 80% of advertising revenue, while the other 20% goes to Fanning Communications, who was contracted to publish the newspaper. Assuming those two new ads are placed starting with the October issue, that means the Village will lose $34,400 in its first year of publication.
Any way you cut it, Oak Lawn Matters is losing money. It has not even approached breaking even, let alone profitability. Despite this, Trustee Vorderer decided it would be wise to chime in.
“By the end of the year, the Village will make money on it.”
Sorry, Terry. Math just doesn’t work that way.