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Council wants more details on $50,000 festival idea
MONROE - Parks director Mike Farrell pitched bringing a music festival to town in September and asked the City Council to consider the authorization of $50,000 to make that happen.
Council members were wary of authorizing the funding after Farrell’s initial pitch at the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, but they expressed interest in seeing how his plans for the event progress for possible future consideration. The budget item wasn’t included in the adopted 2013 budget.
The proposed one-day event at Lake Tye Park would feature one or two opening acts performed by local bands followed by a headliner, Farrell said. He said the music would be a mix of jazz, blues, rock and country.
Farrell suggested working with Blues Traveler singer John Popper, who lives just outside Monroe.
Farrell said initial funding to get the festival started would be in the tens of thousands of dollars, but the event is expected to bring in revenue for the city through admission and food and beverage sales.
Economic development manager Jeff Sax said he would work on getting festival sponsorship dollars from the community.
“We have always wanted to do a music event,” Farrell said. “We’ve always had that as our goal, and it would promote the city and its brand.”
While Councilman Kurt Goering expressed enthusiasm for the idea by putting forth a motion to move forward on the proposal, the other five council members present were more reserved. The motion died for a lack of a second vote.  
“It would be helpful knowing there were one or two other sponsors,” Councilman Tom Williams said. “This (proposal) happened pretty fast and most of us are a little shocked. We’d like a little more info on how the process would work. Fifty-thousand dollars for a music festival with very little information is a tough sell.”
Councilwoman Patsy Cudaback agreed.
“I’m very supportive of having a music event,” Cudaback said. “My only concern is the budget amount. It’s a little bit of a risk and it’s city money on the line that might not be reimbursed.”
“I’m a little bit wary of giving a $50,000 budget authority when we are going to the public to ask for a sales tax increase to fund the police department,” she said, referring to Police Chief Tim Quenzer’s proposal to increase the sales tax by two-tenths of 1 percent for police services.
According to Farrell’s proposal, any additional revenue from the event would establish a music festival fund to support future music events.
Revenue projections for the event are “still being refined,” Farrell said.
The pitch for the music festival was part of Farrell’s presentation of the parks and recreation department’s 2013 goals.
Another project the department is looking into is a renovation of the skate park at Lake Tye Park.
“The transformed park would be a beautiful compliment to the wakeboard park once it becomes operational,” Farrell said. It also could be used for events that would bring people into Monroe, Farrell said.
Farrell is working with two Monroe men who have long been involved with the skateboarding community for ideas on improving the skateboard park. They each came to him separately with requests for improving the park.
Conceptual work was donated by community members, and Farrell said the project will get started as soon as he is able to raise money for it.


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