City approves $15,000 seed money
While members of the Washington City Council weren’t comfortable donating $25,000 to the 175th anniversary committee, the members unanimously voted to give $15,000 to be used for the event, which is scheduled Sunday, June 1 to Sunday, June 8, 2014.
Co-chairs Diane Gallagher and Millie Youngquist attended the regular council meeting Wednesday to discuss the requests for funding the committee had made. The committee had requested a $25,000 donation, plus the city including the event on its insurance for the event. Initially the committee had also asked the to city allow the committee to apply for a Washington County Riverboat Foundation grant through the city. The committee decided to apply through the non-profit Washington Chamber of Commerce.
“We are hoping we can use the city’s contribution as a match for that grant,” Gallagher said.
Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said that some staff time would have to go into insuring the event. Council member Mark Kendall, an accountant, was asked to determine the best way the city could aid the committee with insurance. He said that he would look into the issue and have an answer at the Oct. 2 meeting. Gallagher said that the insurance is expected to cost about $3,000, and the committee would pay the cost if it uses the city’s policy.
While discussing the donation, council member Bob Shepherd said he was concerned about the cost. He said in the past the city had not contributed to events of the type. He also said that has changed in the last few years.
“I have a hard time with the amount,” he said. “At budget time we had a very difficult time coming up with $15,000.”
Shepherd first made the suggestion of funding the event for $15,000, saying he wanted to support the event. He said that with the in-kind contributions from the city, the total would come close to $25,000.
Hinson said that the money would have to come from revenue the Washington County Riverboat Foundation gave the city. Usually the money is used for capital improvement projects, and it is being used this year for street overlay projects. He said that a couple of this year’s projects had come in under budget.
Council member Bob Shellmyer, who attended the meeting through video conferencing on a laptop computer, said that he was concerned about $25,000, but would support $15,000.
Council member Merle Hagie said that several city vehicles are in need of maintenance. He said that he was comfortable with $15,000, but not $25,000 at this point.
Gallagher and Youngquist shared information from the Iowa Tourism Office, which showed that festivals, such as the proposed celebration, generate revenue for cities that hold them. The report shows visitors tend to spend $86 per day. Youngquist said that assuming the celebration draws 500 people on weekdays and 1,000 on weekends, which Youngquist said is conservative, the celebration will yield $214,000.
In other business, the council:
• heard a report from Debbie Stanton of the Washington Public Library;
• approved a request for the Cruisers for Critters car show;
• approved a request from Kyle Middle to purchase an alley from the city after the city learned that the alley was vacated in 1990. Middle agreed to pay $100 for processing and legal fees;
• heard a presentation on the ground storage reservoir. During the Oct. 2 meeting, the council will determine if the reservoir will have one chamber or two;
• approved the first reading to remove the residency requirement for city employees from the code; and
• approved the first reading of an ordinance amending nuisance ordinances.