Hemet’s ad-hoc committee approves special events funding

$50,000 is approved for fiscal year 2017-18

Photo courtesy of City of Hemet
Hemet City Councilman Russ Brown, Special Events ad-hoc committee member.

■ By Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter

The Hemet City Council unanimously approved spending $50,000 on special events funding for FY 17/18. The recommendation came from the ad-hoc committee, established in 2012 after the City Council approved a new program and policy for funding community events.
This year’s ad-hoc committee is made up of council members Russ Brown (District 2) and Bonnie Wright (District 4). They determined funding based on which events bring people into the city, how the event engages the community and how much revenue the event generates for the city.
Wright used “Ramona” at The Ramona Bowl as an example of an event that brings in revenue for the city of Hemet because people “shop in our city and they stay in our hotels.” The Ramona Bowl has board members that include current Hemet Mayor Linda Krupa (Ex Officio) and former Hemet Mayor Lori Van Arsdale (president).
During the discussion, Brown told council he was “impressed by some of the tenure of some of the applicants and the quality of event they put on.”
Councilwoman Karlee Meyer asked that the in-kind service contributions be defined or explained further as to what constitutes an in-kind contribution. Mayor Linda Krupa explained that the in-kind contributions come in the form of anything that public safety and public works can do, such as installing flags advertising “Ramona” on utility poles, as one example. Brown stated that the “in-kind contributions provide valuable services for the event.”
A total of $23,101 was approved for city events “including but not limited to Veteran’s Day and the Christmas Parade.” Outside organizations received a total of $26,899. The events receiving funds are Harvard Street Christmas, Mustang Classic – Marching Band Competition, An Evening of Art, Tinsel Triathlon, Soboba Pow-wow, “Ramona,” Ms. Hemet/San Jacinto Scholarship Program, Diamond Valley Marathon and NAMI Walks Inland Empire.
It was very clearly stated that the city cannot use public funds for private businesses.
“What we don’t do is we cannot use public funds for private business and there was one [applicant] that was for a private business event,” said Wright. “Although we really liked the event, we encourage that entity come and try to use a city facility versus a place of business and perhaps it will enable us to fund it in the future.”
City Manager Alex Meyerhoff said that he spoke with the business owner at length that morning and “she has invited the council and staff to come to the 2017 event. The applicant has, of course, applied for the 2018 event for next year. He suggested that she work with the Hemet Library and library staff to see if the 2018 event would be more appropriate to have at the library, in which case, maybe it will be funded next year.”
Van Arsdale handed out programs to the council after saying that “this year was a really great year…The rain probably hurt us a little bit with the walk-ups that we get the last weekend, but we had a tremendous audience that hung in there with us.” She also thanked City Attorney Eric Vail for his firm’s support of the event.
Connie Hall, vice president of operations and Crime Stoppers director for the Central County United Way, which also puts on the Tinsel Triathlon, is an at-large representative on the Mobilehome Rent Review Commission. Her term expires March 18, 2018.
Steve Covington, who is the owner of Downtown Deli and Coffee Company and requested the funds for the Harvard Street Christmas along with the Shoppes at Harvard, sits on the Traffic & Parking Commission; his term expires April 1, 2019.

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