Ashley Square owner makes request for tax assessment

Monday, January 5, 2009

Putnam County Commissioners heard a request Monday from Ashley Square Cinema owner Frank Katris to assess a per person tax for each person in Putnam County of $5 to 7 to make improvements to the theater.

In exchange for the assessment, county residents could attend movies at the Greencastle theater for free during the week and for $1 on Fridays and Saturdays.

"It could be an economic stimulus to get people to spend more here and in the county," said Katris.

He told commissioners the money from the tax would go toward improvements in the cinema such as a digital projector and 3-D movie equipment.

Katris currently has an arrangement with DePauw University allowing students to attend the theater for free during the week and $1 on weekends. They also receive half-price on concessions. Each student is assessed a $10 fee as part of their student fees. That money goes to the theater.

Commissioner Jim Baird questioned how Katris would make money at the theater.

"I'm banking on earning money with concessions," answered Katris.

Baird also commented that the county was under a considerable financial crunch right now and had other money priorities.

"I wouldn't be asking right now if I didn't think it was something that would help the economy. Movies are something everybody enjoys," added Katris.

According to the theater owner, over 20,000 people visit the business per year.

"I'm hoping to see that number increase three and a half percent. With DePauw we saw about a six times increase," said Katris.

County Attorney Scott Hoff told commissioners he didn't believe they could assess such a tax.

"I don't think you can levy such a tax without looking deeper into it. I don't know for certain but I really doubt it. It probably would need the okay of the county council to do anything," remarked Hoff.

Commissioners tabled the request until Hoff could do some further research.

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  • Are we kidding? We are running into high gas prices whenever the whim comes, payments on everything have gone up, and he wants us to cover his business? What about all of those other places that need some financial help? Can they do the same? Is this legal or is this more of the good old boy mentality. Public relations should be the first place he looks to improve sales before reaching in my pocketbook.

    -- Posted by Life Is Good on Mon, Jan 5, 2009, at 9:14 PM
  • This guy has got to be kidding! If I wanted to support his business I would attend the theater. Since I have no desire to attend it why should I be assessed a fee to go into his pocket. Can a person be sued for frivolously(? spelling)wasting the county commissioners time?

    -- Posted by calcans1 on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 6:07 AM
  • My economics could also use some stimulus. Could the Commissioners also add an additional 50 cents per taxpayer so I could buy a new motorcycle?

    -- Posted by DJ on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 6:54 AM
  • Is this guy kidding? He already provided local businesses with this plan, and now he has the gall to take it to the commissioners? How in the hell did he get on the agenda with this? Isn't this a privately owned business? Duh!!!! And now the attorney is going to take up "valuable" time to do research. Come on commissioners, what's wrong with just saying "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO" You three should be ashamed of yourself for extending this agonizing, pathetic request. You're just hoping he'll go away. Just say NO. Maybe it's time for new commissioners!

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 6:59 AM
  • I think if he wants to offer the DePauw deal to the general public then each person would have the "free choice" to attend or not attend. I haven't been there for years and have no thoughts of attending. I chose to use Blockbuster and I support the local Blockbuster and do not wish to contribuite even one dollar to a business I chose not to use. What is next each taxpayer accessed money for the coin laundromats even though we have our own washer and dryers? Free enterprize gives each business the opportunity to succeed or fail, stop the bail outs.

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:13 AM
  • Is this guy for real! He has a for profit busieness and wants us to pay a tax for him to improve his business, wait, isn't that what they want to do on the square? I get it! I don't have enought money to buy milk but, heck, let me be taxed for flowers on the square and for Ashley to stay in business. Mister, you p*SSed in yout own hat, I will never go to Ashley again! If this gets passed, and please tell me the commissioners are not THAT dumb, all the businesses in Greencastle are stupid not to junp on the band wagon, in fact, I think I'll let greencastle tax payers pay for me to own my own business. Think I'll sell Palm Trees in the winter.

    -- Posted by secondthought on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:13 AM
  • This is the most un-real, stupid proposal I have ever heard. Words cannot describe what a dumb deal this is. Has anyone ever heard of capitalism?

    -- Posted by hardtobelieve on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:33 AM
  • Why can't Ashley just offer a "membership" card with the same guidelines. $10, earns you the same $1 movies during the week, etc. This way the people who do go to Ashley will benefit, yet the people who don't aren't forced to pay into it.

    -- Posted by lskelton2 on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 8:56 AM
  • Well he hit the nail on the head anyway, he plans to make his money on concessions. If he didn't charge $10 for popcorn and a drink then maybe more people would go (oh yeah don't forget the extra quater for freaking butter!).

    -- Posted by pepperdog on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 11:04 AM
  • If this is such a good deal, why doesn't he offer it to the general public like a membership. I'd sure pay $7.00 for a year's worth of free movies.

    -- Posted by whatsup on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 11:11 AM
  • It's too bad the Commissioner's just didn't say no! Why throw good money at having the attorney review something that is just plain bad business. Commissioner's please step up and do your job and quit worrying about the next election. Govern while you have the job and people will vote for you if you are effective at your job.

    -- Posted by hoosierpete on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 12:18 PM
  • Cool, next meeting, I'm going to ask if we could assess a per person tax to all residents of Putnam County for like $2.50 per person so I can buy a new car. All residents of Putnam would be welcome to come to my house and look at it, PLUS, every 35th person who comes by would have the opportunity to wash it! How could the commisioners pass up a deal like that? I will even go so far as to promise that I, yes I, will pay for all gas used!

    Next year however, we might have to do something similar to repair my roof.

    -- Posted by ThinkPeopleThink on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 1:13 PM
  • Unbelievable!!!! As soon as I stop laughing I am going to draft a letter asking for money to improve my rentals, maybe even money to buy more!!! This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day. On principle alone I won't go to Katris' theater again.

    -- Posted by ExHoosier on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 6:57 PM
  • I've said it once and I'll say it again, the owner of the Ashley Square Cinema has issues. He owns the now closed Village theater in Plainfield. A few years ago he tore up the insides of the Vilage with the intentions of remodeling. He has no carpentry or interior decorating skills and now he has no money to hire skilled sub contracters to fix the mess he created at the Village. He is hoping that Putnam County tax payers will finance the remodeling of the Village (NOT). Next concerning the contract with DePauw, there are students who should sue Mr Katris since he does not honor the contract. Some students are not allowed to visit the theater because he got angry at them and they were threatened with arrest and were told not to return despite the fact that they were forced to pay for the service. 20,000 people means 20,000 tickets sold many of those customers are regulars. I am not going to pay taxes to this man and when who gets mad and calls the police who in return kick out patrons.

    -- Posted by Reliablesportsfan on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 8:00 PM
  • Wow! can someone please tell me why this idiot is still breathing?...

    Honestly it has been a while since ive been to Ashley Square Cinemas, but the last time i went, all i saw was 2 screens and a big pile of wood in the corner. Unless it has changed since then, I'm not impressed enough to spend 5-7 dollars out of my pocket to support a WANNABE businessman.

    Frank Katris has completely run his business into the ground and is asking Putnam County residence to bail him out... (I really dont think there is room in this country for another bailout!)... In some aspects, Depauw was foolish for ever agreeing to make a deal with him...On the other hand, They completely ripped him off. but thats a whole nother story...

    creating a tax for a theater that noone goes to( 20,000 people? BULL****) is completely pointless and the idea should have been thrown out as soon as he opened his mouth.

    -- Posted by neverscared on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 8:40 PM
  • Unbelievable!

    -- Posted by localman on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 8:57 PM
  • Divide 20K by 365, that's 54 folks a day. Hmmm...

    -- Posted by localman on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 9:00 PM
  • Yes, that's the theater on 40 the dinner and a movie never happened. How dare you a non resident ask Putnam County residents for a bailout. Renting a movie and buying my popcorn from Aldi makes more sense than patronizing your business at least I don't have to pay a quarter for that lousy butter.

    -- Posted by Reliablesportsfan on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 9:51 PM
  • I hate to comment on this story again, but I wonder why "Commissioners tabled the request until Hoff could do some further research."

    I wonder if the commissioners could explain why they would even waste another 2 seconds of their time on "further research" into this matter!

    It seems to me that a simple NO would of put this issue to rest and they could be spending their time on something worth their efforts.

    Sometimes I really don't know how we made it this far.

    -- Posted by ThinkPeopleThink on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 6:00 AM
  • This has been the best thing to hit the paper in a long while. As I sit here laughing my you know what off, (I love, love, love these comments) I come to the realization that a privately owned business cannot "tax" the county. I am once again outraged that the commissioners did not say no. I for one am going to find out how much Mr. Hoff has billed the county for this ridiculous "research" that he has been instructed to do. This county needs to realize that everyone in office needs to be removed and we need to start over with a clean bill of health, which translates into new people who know how to run a town. There are more committees in this town than what I have ever heard of before. How did this county make it 50-60 years ago? Let's bring back some of the simpler things in life and maybe we can become a force that puts us out in the front again. Have you ever tried to deal with the commissioners, most of them don't have time for anyone but themselves and then some look down their nose at you. Watch out fab "3". You may be replaced one day because people are finally getting tired of your crap.

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 7:23 AM
  • I have wanted to start a " fried baloney " restaurant in Greencastle for some time, but I see that somebody already sells " baloney "!

    -- Posted by Insane Due to Society on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 12:56 PM
  • you have to love his timing....the proposed downtown economic district proposal, now before city counsel, probably gave him this's basically the same thing....where he messed up,is that he didn't propose this to the greencastle city counsel....

    -- Posted by downtown on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 4:21 PM
  • Unless Scott Hoff got his law degree from Wal-Mart, then he should not have to do "further research" to determine that a government agency can not assess a tax to directly support a private business. This is the kind of behavior that Gov. Daniels is referring to when he says we need to streamline local government. Who put this request on the commissioner's agenda?

    -- Posted by sneakers on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 4:24 PM
  • I have never been to this theater and after reading what the owner wants to do-I never will. I will support our video stores if I want to see a movie.Or better yet HBO and Starz have good movies.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 5:14 PM
  • I never comment here, but I must say something this time. I am a business owner in this community and have been for almost 20 years. I cannot believe anyone would have the audacity to make such a request -- yet what really gets me is that the commissioners did not say a NO! and laugh him out of the building.

    I like to support fellow Greencastle businesses, but my family won't be back at Ashley Square after this little ploy.

    -- Posted by icare on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 8:22 PM
  • This is how we arrived at our current situation in the economy. If you can't operate and maintain your business with your own money, go work for someone else who can do what you can not. Speaking of working for someone else, I know some county commissioners that should be looking for work elsewhere right now.

    -- Posted by JustinH on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 7:28 AM
  • Good One JustinH. So true, so true. Could you be talking about just one or all three? I vote for all three!

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 7:32 AM
  • You know whats so funny about all the gripping about the commissioners and replacing them. When it comes election time, they all get voted back in...duhhh, who's the dummies. When I say someone/everyone needs to be voted out, I vote against them which I have done many times in many elections. But if the populus doesn't get together and actually vote against them, the good ole boys and girls are going to continue to rule.

    -- Posted by Jahaya on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 12:34 AM
  • I wish it were so, but unfortunately the idea that private business can not benefit from the imposed taxes on the citizens of this country, even while they object, is just wrong. If anyone has been paying attention to what has been happening over the last year, you would know that is what has been happening all along. Even when it has proven to have not helped and to have been irresponsible, ie: 350+ billion, our new president can't seem to wait until he gets in office to spend it. And don't blame this fiasco on the Democrats, because it was the current administration, the Republicans, that proposed the bailouts to start with and G.W who came on TV to scare the congress to pass it. Both sides are to blame. I don't think anyone realizes what sort of a financial mess this country is in. We have just spent in 3 months 4 times what we spent in Iraq over 6 years. That will have consequences, in the form of credit cruches and higher interest rates. There is no accountability in government. Special interests RULE, we citizens DROOL! Private business wants to keep profit private while socializing risk. Now, I am not claiming to be an expert, but this stinks! Business interests are beginning to outweigh citizens interests. It is about time we told our government to get its act together or we are going to follow our founding fathers leadership and start over!

    -- Posted by thinkthenspeak on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 4:58 AM
  • Jahaya, I agree. Vote for them, you get what you deserve. I believe everyone needs to be voted out from the courthouse to the commissioners!

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 6:55 AM
  • I am extremely grateful for Ashley Square Cinema for providing a great family entertainment attraction here is town. The price is great. If you've taken your family to the Rave, or other chain theaters, you'd see what a great value it is. For a 3-D showing at the Rave of Disney's Bolt at Matinee - they charged $9.25 - even for a child ticket. Outrageous. If our owner is planning on free weekday tickets for every year to every resident for less than the cost of one movie ticket, it becomes an great enhancement to our community. Would you rather live in a community where the cheapest theater has $9 tickets or where the tickets are free/$1 tickets to new movies? I'd bet you would see families drive from Plainfield to Greencastle and spend the $40 they saved on tickets to eating dinner out. Then people would complain about out-of-towners visting our local theater taking up their seats. I think it is a very creative idea. It's usual, but I've lived in St. Louis where taxes paid for free admission to the Zoo and the Science Center. I'm guessing the theater proposal is a few million dollars cheaper, and you could take advantage of it every week if you wanted to. Imagine your friends or family in Avon or Plainfield envious that you live in Greencastle. Imagine they come to Greencastle for entertainment and you introduce them to Old Topper, Marvin's,or Almost Home. Imagine Greencastle becoming city where West Indy Suburbanites go for an escape from their expensive venues and traffic. That's quite a dream, but it's a great excercise to think about. The next step should actually be to figure out how to make it happen without raising taxes.

    -- Posted by Light in the Dark on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 8:08 AM
  • I wouldn't be surprised if you are Frank Katris, "Light in the Dark." Ashley Square's prices aren't like the Rave's, therefore if Putnam County residents wanted to go there, they would because it is cheap. The fact that not many people do says a lot about the place. Also, not everyone finds going to a movie theater every week entertaining. Some of us have rather important things to do. Also, what about the people who have been banned from the theater for bringing in a piece of candy (sounds stupid but it has happened) or for various reasons? Will they be allowed to return? Let's also not forget the DePauw students who are also Putnam County residents, are they going to be charged twice? They are already paying DePauw a fee to go to the movie theater every semester. I would rather go to the Rave and pay higher prices because of the comfortable seats, comfortable temperature, clean bathrooms, and quality service, rather than go to this theater where I have to hold my breath, cross my fingers and pray that the movie does not break down. If this ridiculous idea does go into effect, then every other business in Putnam County will look for the same treatment, and they would be stupid not to. Hopefully the commissioners will see the light and realize how dumb this idea is.

    -- Posted by somethingsoundsweird on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 4:28 PM
  • Well Frank Katris aka "Light In The Dark," people already come from all over to eat at Marvin's, Almost Home, and Old Topper's. I have a theater system in my home (50" flat screen), and many people in this county can say the same thing. This is not bragging, I am simply telling the truth. Ashley Square is no longer a necessity in Greencastle because of the Rave, and other forms of entertainment around. Plainfield has a mall, for crying out loud, and good restaurants, and FRANKly, dinner and a movie is what I love. If I don't eat before watching a movie at the Rave, I come back to Greencastle to enjoy Marvin's, Almost Home, Old Topper's, the Duck, and yes, even McDonald's. Also, because of my system at home, I usually just end up watching movies here. You are just looking for someone to give you money because you are too lazy to earn it like an honest businessman. You have to work hard to improve your business, not ask for money from others. Honestly, you are a bum in the street that is my life.

    I do apologize if you are not Frank Katris, Light in the Dark, but you certainly sound like a man defending his ridiculous actions.

    -- Posted by photographer on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 4:57 PM
  • I'm just a father here in Greencastle who loves our community, and loves to have a good, safe place for family entertainment. Any ideas to improve Ashley Square Cinema and add value to community is worth looking into. Frank Katris has some creative ideas, but I'm not in favor of tax increases. I think lskelton2's idea of a memebership card would be great.

    -- Posted by Light in the Dark on Wed, Jan 28, 2009, at 9:03 AM
  • If this guy really wanted to make some money, he wouldn't harass the kids of the town and kick them out. He wouldn't make them stand across the street in front of a bar because it looks bad on his establishment for them to be waiting to be picked up. These kids don't have many places to hang out and do things, we want our kids to have safe fun, and he's taking away their ability to do so by kicking them out for no reason what-so-ever.

    -- Posted by elkylane on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 1:36 PM
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