The council is the latest in a series of groups to reduce what they’ve given in the past to the city’s annual party.
“I don’t want to paint doom and gloom — there’s already enough of that,” fiesta secretary Marilyn Hoobler said, “but it’s hard to convince people to jump on board.”
In fact, funds for the fiesta are vanishing as fast as the fruit the event is named after.
“(Funds) will be down this year,” Hoobler said.
Though the city has reduced its contribution from years past, it still remains the event’s largest sponsor. The city sent close to $20,000 in staff time, waived fees and direct payments, said Patterson Finance Director Margaret Souza..
Still, the council decided its contribution this year would have to be less than in the past. Mayor Becky Campo suggested fiesta workers make sure to call back prospective volunteers. Hoobler assured her that she promptly returns phone messages.
The decrease in funding will especially hit the fiesta’s security and advertising budget.
In past years, the cost of security at the fiesta was covered in the city’s police service contract with the county. However, as a result of recent negotiations, the new arrangement requires the city to pay for half of the security costs, estimated at $20,000, on top of the contract payments.
The council agreed to cover most of these costs this year by contributing $15,000, essentially reducing its contribution by $5,000.
An early indication that the council would contribute less to the 2009 fiesta came several months ago, when the fiesta board initially requested money for promotional costs. Though the council didn’t say no, council members did not commit to the previously provided expenditure level. Instead, the council directed city staff to begin talks with the fiesta so the two groups could prepare for the shrinking budget.
Ultimately, the council decided it would eliminate its $5,000 promotional contribution, thus reducing its overall contribution by a total of $10,000 and making the city one more group in a growing line of those who are cutting back on funding the fiesta.
“I want to give wonderful praise to all the people sticking with us,” Hoobler said, “even if they can’t donate everything they did in the past.”