by Pamela Gross,
I would like to thank Dave Kennedy and staff for reviewing the current fee ordinance for events held within the City.
While it seems we may have come to a solution that is amicable to everyone, I think it’s important to review how we have gotten to this current point. We need to acknowledge how this issue could have been handled better.
I am dismayed that this entire conversation regarding the special events policy and fee structure has veered so far away from the real issue that the administration and council were attempting to address.
All of us bear some responsibility for this misdirection – the administration for not effectively communicating to those most affected by the new policies and fees, council for not communicating the big picture behind the necessity of such a policy and fees, certain council members, who have apologized for not being prepared for a discussion on the issue and not fully understanding the effects of the policy and ordinance. Hopefully all of us have learned from this and we will do a better job next time difficult decisions must be made.
To the many supporters of the Loveland Amazing Race, Farmers Market and the LMRCA, while this policy and fee structure affects you it was not targeted at you. I want you to take a step back and look at this from a different point of view.
As you all acknowledge our city is a growing, vibrant community and events are an important part of this vibrancy. The Loveland Amazing Race and the Farmers Market have been here for many years, and hopefully for many more. The city expends considerable time and resources hosting the events. Some are direct costs, most are indirect costs. For instance, our police chief spends 40 hours and public works spends 20 hours planning and coordinating the Loveland Amazing Race. The Farmers Market is located in the heart of our city and uses a public financed property. Because of the success and beauty of our community, many other groups are discovering what we have to offer. The city gets calls regularly from organizations who want to host various events in our city. It now becomes crucial for city officials to start asking important questions:
- Does the city have the resources to accommodate everyone?
- Do we have the infrastructure?
- Is our staff able to handle all the logistics of the various events and also take care of regular city responsibilities and residence concerns?
- Do we have policies and procedures in place to assess the events?
- Do we know if the event costs more than the city can sustain?
If we don’t address these questions, than the events become more and more expensive to the city because there is no economic engine attached to it. It becomes more and more attended but what does it mean to the city without a revenue piece attached to it. As it becomes more and more expensive it’s no longer an investment, it’s a cost. So, yes it brings people into the city but it doesn’t bring dollars in for the city.
I recognize any organization that has a sustainable path of growth has to have a solid foundation which isn’t just operational but is also financial. If we invest in all of these activities but don’t have a way to recoup the cost of investment what ends up happening is that Loveland has a more and more expensive liability.
For me, that is what this entire discussion should have been about. I believe we must have a structure and plans for the future. Fees cannot be zero or some other random number, they must be based on cost vs. benefits. Our city will not be a vibrant and financially sustainable city without this analysis.
Loveland is different from 10 years ago, it’s different from 5 years ago. My responsibility as an elected representative is not only to handle matters of today but to have an eye on tomorrow. That is good governance.