10/26/2010 Town Council Special Meeting Summary

This meeting was called for one purpose: Discuss and possibly take action on Gilbert Promotional Corporation’s request for Town funding for Gilbert Days events and activities; and to approve an Agreement with GPC related to support and funding of the events and activities

SPECIAL EVENTS – GILBERT DAYS – 11TH HOUR REQUEST FOR TAXPAYER FUNDING (AGAIN) FROM THE GILBERT PROMOTIONAL CORPORATION.

This discussion began on 10/21/2010. See Gilbert Watch.

Town Manager Collin Dewitt provided an overview of GPC’s request for funding the upcoming Gilbert Days event. It was noted that the original figures from 10/21/2010 had been reduced. Part of the reduction was $4,000 by utilizing a private company, Road Safe, for barricades, rather than Town staff. Part of it was the use of Rangers instead of Police.

Council Member Dave Crozier gave a power point presentation which amounted to a GPC Sales Pitch on why the “Town” (taxpayer) should be grateful to the GPC for everything they do and award them more money. The GPC pays for the maintenance of the Rodeo Park, which is extensive. Also, Gilbert Days has been written up in CNN Money Magazine in the magazine’s rating of Gilbert as one of the best places to live in the USA. Hundreds of thousands of people have attended Gilbert Days over the last 32 years. It helps the community’s small town, family focused image. Plus, GPC is a non-profit. (I’m not sure why non-profits seem to have been elevated to godlike status.) Many merchants benefit (hotels, store owners, etc.) The group could take advantage of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s influence and gain sponsors, but it would cut out local cowboys. So, the GPC has chosen to not be sanctioned by this group.

However, some of the Council members brought up concerns, made some statements, and asked a few questions. For example, it was noted that the GPC has full use of the rodeo grounds for themselves, volunteers, and other certain families. Anyone who wishes to use it must go through GPC and pay a fee to cover maintenance.

Poor planning and communication between GPC and Staff was cited. Jenn Daniels noted that all Special Events benefit merchants, not just Gilbert Days, and those event planners don’t ask for money. It was also noted that if GPC wants to be a true partner with the Town, they need to be prepared to provide some reliable financials. For example, Ms. Bullard, the president of GPC, could not provide figures for the total operating budget, nor the cost of the Parade last year.

In the end the Council voted 4-1 to provide $14,058.91 to GPC, all of which GPC will reimburse to the Town. John Sentz was the dissenting vote.

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