Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Zoo Board Has First Public Meeting

The Board of the Jackson Zoological Society held its first public meeting yesterday.   WJTV reported:




Meanwhile, attendance and financial woes continue to plague the Jackson Zoo.  Executive Director Beth Poff said attendance was down 15,000 visitors from a year ago.  The income statement (posted below) states that admission revenue alone fell nearly $150,000 from May 2017.   It is operating at a current deficit of $644,384.  The fiscal year ends September 30.    School visitors fell from 12,000 last year to 10,000 this year.  Ms. Poff said the school visitors from non-JPS schools fell only 2-3% but JPS fell 15%.  It was opined at the meeting that the combination of both the opening of the Two Museums and the Kellog Foundation's underwriting of free admissions for schoolchildren reduced their visits to the zoo.




46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe making a public announcement that they were moving when they had no place to move affected attendance and support. Maybe publicizing how dilapidated the area is discouraged visitors. Maybe the zoo needs a new director that knows how to work with the city and the state and handle positive public relations.

Anonymous said...

I only see 2 options for the Zoo, move or cease to be.

Anonymous said...

If they truly have $5 million of liabilities and $20,000 cash, they are dead broke. Good golly who is at the wheel?

That said, a little color around the $4.7 million owed to the city would be helpful. But even if you take that out of the conversation, $20,000 cash and $260,000 of short term liabilities (excluding Jackson) is still broke. Dead broke.

Anonymous said...

Utilities for 2017-2018 were budgeted for $179,193.00. They spent $866,152.00. This means they under budgeted by $686,959.00. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN???????

Anonymous said...

Buck stops with Lumumba. Lumumba is incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Nia Umoja wants to turn the Zoo into a Six Flags over West Jackson (but eschews "white capital").

Sounds like a GREAT plan!

Anonymous said...

Maybe publicizing how dilapidated the area is discouraged visitors.

That's right. Everybody in the metro who didn't know any better visited the zoo year after year none the wiser. The fact that the surrounding area had morphed into a crime infested dump was Jackson's best kept secret!

And all those murders that go down in Jackson? Well those are only a figment of the media's imagination. Just think how great Jackson would be if nobody reported the truth about anything!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the zoo as a child. My children enjoyed the zoo. Jackson can no longer afford a zoo. The remaking animals deserve better. Larger more affluent cities than Jackson don’t have zoos. Close the zoo.

Anonymous said...

Poff and the Board need to start planning ASAP to relocate the animals to safer locations. Because when the lease lapses the situation vis-a-vis the city will go downhill even faster than it has so far. Look around, Jackson can't get anything done in a timely manner. The idea that Parks & Rec is drawing up a RFP is a total joke. Plan for the worst case scenario right now. You can't count on Antar and Jackson to deal in good faith when the welfare of the animals is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Both sides of the balance sheet are shit. There’s no way the city would or could collect on those debts. There’s also no way the zoo’s assets are worth with what is stated. They don’t own the land correct??? Sooo what’s an empty giraffe cage worth? Scrap. I love the zoo. I still take my kids there because they love it too. They’re too young to realize that it’s crappy, especially when the train is running and the icee machine works(rarely both). However, the numbers don’t lie. If things don’t get better very very soon. It’s time to strap it to a tree and hit it with a shovel. Anyone been to the Hattiesburg zoo??? It’s much smaller...it’s also cleaner and more enjoyable with fewer exhibits. It’s not impossible to move the Jackson zoo. It just won’t be as grand as it once was, just as it isn’t now...

Anonymous said...

I’m assuming that the long term debt to the city simply rolls over every year and consist of all of the past years combined. Is this also a receivable on the city’s balance sheet??? Are there others like this? Bond underwriters would likely want to know the likelihood of payments.

Anonymous said...

How are they goin to make payroll this month? The Regions line?

Anonymous said...

Is the dirt underneath the zoo good dirt??? If so, turn it into a dirt pit to fund the move to Lefluers.

Anonymous said...

So the credit line has huge payments relative to the budget...we’re they forced to by the bank???was it recently? Could be the cause of the cash crunch. Can it be used again?

Anonymous said...

Lumumba doesnt run the zoo and neither does the city. A non-profit has for many years. The city contributes the property and about a million in funding yearly.

Anonymous said...

Better idea. A MS State extension campus for the veterinarian school/zoo. State funding and winners all’s round!!!

Anonymous said...

"It was opined at the meeting that the combination of both the opening of the Two Museums and the Kellog Foundation's underwriting of free admissions for school children reduced their visits to the zoo."

What spin doctors they are. The reason is because people don't want to drive through Fort Apache to get to the zoo.


Anonymous said...

how many from the jackson city council were there? was chokwe there? if not, then he nor the city council is really interested in the zoo.

Anonymous said...

lets have an exotic animal dinner and eat the remaining assets from the zoo and then close it. Zoos are sad and depressing, just like Jackson.

Clovis and Newgene Ledbetter said...

We seen a meetin' down at City Hall in Jackson, Mississippi what was called a Zoo Meetin'.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the $900k for utilities during past year is a correct billing or not -

BUT, if in fact the Zoo owes almost $4 million (assume maybe $3 million if there was a 2018 billing error - either way, same argument) then there is no reason to continue this charade. Just like businesses that don't pay the IRS for employee withholdings this is nothing but holding back on a liability thinking that they can continue to operate and not be forced into paying. And doing it obviously for several years.

Why should we expect regular citizens to pay their water/sewer bill if this "special" non-profit doesn't have to pay? Damned if I want to pay my $100/month bill while this "special" group decides they want to stiff the city that gives it a million a year in grants.

Time to make them face reality that this operation cannot continue. It's broke. There isn't enough money to pay the bills. Once the $800,000 worth of salaries gets held back maybe those on top of the pile will finally understand.

Anonymous said...

This area has been dilapidated for years so this didn't just happen over night. It was dilapidated 20 years ago. The city does not run the zoo. This director is in over her head and has made things many times worse by mishandling this move announcement. Actually, I'm appalled that the city gives the zoo a million bucks every year. Spend that money elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Damn. Looking at the utility cost line item, one wonders if every meter at the zoo (water and electricity) was made by Siemens.

Anonymous said...

I have never enjoyed going to any zoo. Seeing animals in forced captivity has never been appealing to me.

There are some educational benefits of visiting a zoo and that's as close as most folks will ever get to seeing wild animals, but I always left feeling kind of down for the occupants that have no choice in how their lifetimes are spent.

Just me.

Anonymous said...

@2:36 With all due respect, there are plenty of young, college educated, tax paying zookeepers at the zoo. Closing that place down is going to cost a lot of good people their jobs.

Keep the zoo open, move the zoo, or fund the zoo. Closing it down would be horrible for the workers.

I wish the board would get the damn heads out of their ass, and can Beth Poff -- she obviously can't handle being director and has run the place into the ground!

Mr. Schadenfreude said...

It’s kinda sick but I enjoy seeing Jackson declining into third world oblivion. Now that Kennuf Stokes and his ilk have had a few decades to run the city it’s rather amusing to see them scurrying about blaming whitey. The racial politics they espouse does nothing but divide and excellerate the city’s demise. Close the zoo and pass the popcorn!!!!

Anonymous said...

... and can Beth Poff -- she obviously can't handle being director and has run the place into the ground!

Specifically, how has she "run the place into the ground"?

Anonymous said...

Close the zoo. Transfer the workers to more productive uses in the city for the money you save. No City or county in Mississippi ought to be spending a million bucks a year on a zoo. None. Zoos are outdated. A MIlLION bucks.

Do Bee - from Romper Room with Miss Gail said...

You want to revitalize West Jackson? Turn the zoo into an urban marijuana farm and hold weekly farmers markets.

Boom! Massive influx of cash.

Anonymous said...

Specifically, 7:28, zoo was self sustaining when Poff became director. Now it's a money suck trying to cash flow with a credit line. I'd say that's the definition of running it into the ground whether she did so out of malice, ignorance, or ommision. Zoo and CVB should have a reality show type of Idol deal where two woefully incompetant "non-profit" directors can see who can squander the most tax dollars while producing the least return, whilst eschewing the most oversight. Show would be a nail biter.

Anonymous said...

7:28. She is the boss. The buck stops with her. Just look at the balance sheet. And the wonderful way she handled the PR around the move that isn't going to happen.

Anonymous said...

The state is not going to touch this with a 10 foot pole after the uproar about the schools and the airport. This zoo either closes or it makes do where it is. Zoo leadership should have enough sense to know that.

Anonymous said...

8:30 PM, name the last year the zoo was self sustaining. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

You're right @8:30, Jackson went to hell on Poff's watch. Potential patrons avoided third world conditions and the zoo because of Poff.

Anonymous said...

If the Zoo lays off employees, the Jackson water and sewer departments are short 60 employees. The Zoo employees will have jobs.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much the director is getting paid. Has she taken a pay cut

Anonymous said...

6:25 - what wonderful Democrat/liberal logic -- Keep the zoo open because otherwise some good folks will lose their jobs!

The zoo, nor any of the other functions funded by government is not supposed to exist as a jobs program - except to people in your mindset. If the zoo serves a real purpose (not a place for wonderful, educated zoo keepers to work), then make that argument. But for my dime (and all the rest of my tax dollars) keep your jobs program purposes in your pocketbook, not in mine.

Problem is, I am sure that your kind of thinking prevails in many of the square miles surrounding the zoo property.

Anonymous said...

10:11 there are Democrat legislators up and down Mississippi (seriously) proposing that more government hiring is the path forward towards saving PERS.

Anonymous said...

The zoo had been mismanaged for years under Beth Poff, Dave Wetzel and the zoological society. They have run the zoo into the ground slowly for years for us to reach this point. She did the same thing at her former zoo in Virginia. Finances is not her strong point as well as long term management. She has gotten pay raises while mismanaging the zoo. Look at their tax returns. The whole way they have handled the announcement of the move at this juncture in time only proves the zoo needs new management to survive. Patrons will come if you give them a reason to want to return. Empty exhibits, dirty grounds and exhibits, herd animals living solitary is not the way to manage a zoo. They have played the neighborhood excuse to the end. Hopefully the end of them mismanaging the zoo.

Anonymous said...

She did the same thing at her former zoo in Virginia.

Link?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is what 3:36 was referring to:

https://www.roanoke.com/webmin/news/caged-debt/article_1925008f-3a83-5d33-95c5-647cd2fe680b.html

Anonymous said...

https://www.roanoke.com/webmin/news/caged-debt/article_1925008f-3a83-5d33-95c5-647cd2fe680b.html

There are several articles out there about her departure there. If the Jackson Zoo is going to be saved she needs to go as well as new organization running it. The society needs to go back supporting the zoo. Not running it.

Anonymous said...

Poff wasn't run out of her last job. She left for the Jackson Zoo. Shoot off your mouth all you want but you've presented nothing to support how she's run either her present or former zoos into the ground.

Anonymous said...

I never saw anybody here say she was run out of her last job. Looking at the finance sheets and attendance numbers and other statistics is all one needs to look at. Similarities between the two facilities exist. She is the zoo director and the buck stops there. Between 1997 and 2002 the zoo lost money four of the six years. Ms. Poff said mounting debt and changing direction at the zoo didn't cause her to look for a job, but it occurred to her that perhaps her own change of focus could be good for the zoo as well. Well it is that time here as well for the Jackson Zoo!

Anonymous said...

The zoo she left has had troubles ever since.

But we all know you need a scapegoat to explain away Jackson's woes and to avoid responsibility for the city, and the area around the zoo, going into the tank.

Anonymous said...

1:36 the financial statements tell the story perfectly.

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Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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