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Request for Feedback on July 5 and SOTC

As requested by Council, this Message Board topic has been created to request guidance on a 4th of July event in combination with a State of the City (SOTC) presentation.

 

BACKGROUND

Based on the information that was previously posted on the Council forum (“Working Budget Discussion Item 1/9/24 Council Meeting“), the “Independence Day +1” event will cost approximately $150K to facilitate. $100K is the City portion of the event (Fireworks, Drones, Port-a-potties, and other site requirements to facilitate the event). Two years ago, the City Manager’s office approved a one-time transfer of $50,000 (from Parks department savings) to be used for Community Special Events. This leaves an unfunded amount of $50,000 for the city portion of the event.

 

A community 501c3 has agreed to partner with the City on this Special Event with a focus on entertainment (headliner band, opening act, stage and sound system). We anticipate $50,000 in potential costs for their portion of the event (this amount is  unrelated to the unfunded $50,000 for the City Portion.)  The 501c3 will be soliciting community partners to help offset their costs for the entertainment through sponsorships.

 

COMBINING WITH THE STATE OF THE CITY

The SOTC event as it has historically been presented is generally considered to be a “political event”. Thus, the addition of the SOTC to the Independence Day +1 event will limit the ability of the non-profit partner to support the event as a non-profit partner cannot financially support the event or they may risk losing their 501c3 status. Similarly, the City cannot participate in political events, and taxpayer funds cannot be used to support a political event. These concerns are the reasons that, historically, the SOTC is organized and operated by a 3rd party using donated funds and not with City resources.

 

3 OPTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

The Council could request through the Interim City Manager that staff:

  1. Operate the “Independence Day +1” event without the addition of the traditional SOTC components and forgo any additional SOTC event. This option:
    1. allows the non-profit partner to remain involved, and excludes any SOTC event.
    2. supports the mayor’s outlined preference to hold a community focused event rather than a formal SOTC presentation
  2. Operate the “Independence Day +1” event with some information provided from the City that is strictly fact based outlining the City’s financial resources and the extent to which those resources have been translated into city services. This option:
    1. should allow the non-profit partner to remain involved, and
    2. meets the requirements of the SOTC per the “Governance and Ends Policy”.
  1. Join the two events with a full “Independence Day +1/SOTC event. This option:
    1. will likely preclude any nonprofit support of the event and also require a third party operator to assist with the SOTC planning.
    2. will likely limit the scope to just the Fireworks and Drone Show unless the Council identifies additional funding

 

Regardless of the option preferred by Council, city staff will need direction related to:

  1. What funds should be allocated to cover the additional $50,000 needed for the city portion.
  2. If a traditional SOTC is preferred, will the Council solicit donations and a 3rd party operator for the State of the City event?

 

Thank you Floyd. I do not want to jeopardize any non-profit’s 501c3 status by any means. So, if by doing a joint event would put them in question, then I prefer it to be separate.

When I brought the idea up during the council meeting my thoughts behind it were:

A. Reach as many citizens as possible.

B. Save money by not having two events.

I did not realize that the State of The City Address was historically funded privately. I did not think by stating facts, and giving updates, it would be considered political. My apologies. 

————-

I am still of the opinion of allocating the 50k from our working budget per the other forum post. I think this would be an event that would be great for our citizens to enjoy. I also want to say I appreciate our non-profit sponsors for their efforts in this. 

A State of the City is a public address generally given by the mayor of the city. Our previous mayor established this practice in 2018. As to not be a burden to taxpayers, previous State of the City addresses were funded privately, mainly by the local banks in the community.

The inaugural State of the City address in 2018 was held in the Globe-News Center for the purpose of giving an update of what had been achieved in the last year by council and the challenges for the upcoming year. Several other addresses have been held since. The most recent one was held in Sam Houston Park and the turnout for the SOTC address wasn't nearly as well attended as the others held in a forum like the Globe-News Center/Civic Center.

I don’t think the State of the City should be combined with a July 4 event that involves taxpayer funding. A privately funded event focused only on the State of the City would be my preference.

Also, there could be other ways to share the State of the City outside of just an event, including social media, printed material, and other means to get the State of the City to those who can’t attend the event. These also should be funded privately and created by third party.

I have included several articles about other Texas cities and their State of the City addresses for reference.

https://www.myfoxzone.com/article/news/local/abilene-mayor-state-of-the-city-address/504-43159340-bd5b-4314-8931-89e584763e4f

https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/strong-and-resilient-lubbock-leaders-say-the-state-of-the-city-is-good/

https://www.midlandtxchamber.com/stateofmidland/

https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/2023/08/21/corpus-christis-state-of-the-city-2023-had-strong-as-message/70610167007/

 

I would request the additional funding for the event be presented at a Council meeting for review so that Council and the community could learn more about the proposed event. If I'm correct, the request is that the city pay $100,000 of the $150,000 cost of the event.  I'd like to learn more about the details on where the $100,000 will be spent. Does that include the cost for additional police, fire and other city manpower that will need to be provided by the City? How much cost would that add on the city side? Can or should more fundraising be done locally to reduce the amount taxpayers have to subsidize? Thanks and I look forward to hearing more about the event!

Quote from Les.Simpson@amarillo.gov on March 19, 2024, 6:20 am

A State of the City is a public address generally given by the mayor of the city. Our previous mayor established this practice in 2018. As to not be a burden to taxpayers, previous State of the City addresses were funded privately, mainly by the local banks in the community.

The inaugural State of the City address in 2018 was held in the Globe-News Center for the purpose of giving an update of what had been achieved in the last year by council and the challenges for the upcoming year. Several other addresses have been held since. The most recent one was held in Sam Houston Park and the turnout for the SOTC address wasn't nearly as well attended as the others held in a forum like the Globe-News Center/Civic Center.

I don’t think the State of the City should be combined with a July 4 event that involves taxpayer funding. A privately funded event focused only on the State of the City would be my preference.

Also, there could be other ways to share the State of the City outside of just an event, including social media, printed material, and other means to get the State of the City to those who can’t attend the event. These also should be funded privately and created by third party.

I have included several articles about other Texas cities and their State of the City addresses for reference.

https://www.myfoxzone.com/article/news/local/abilene-mayor-state-of-the-city-address/504-43159340-bd5b-4314-8931-89e584763e4f

https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/strong-and-resilient-lubbock-leaders-say-the-state-of-the-city-is-good/

https://www.midlandtxchamber.com/stateofmidland/

https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/2023/08/21/corpus-christis-state-of-the-city-2023-had-strong-as-message/70610167007/

 

Below is the preliminary budget for the event including city expenditures. Please keep in mind that these numbers are estimates and many will not be finalized until we have contracts in place or turn estimates to actuals. We would anticipate some operational expenses such as personnel overtime and supplies not listed, these can be better estimated when the project is clearly defined.   

 

However, this is the most accurate budget estimate at this time.

 

CITY PORTION 

Drone Show – 10 minute show with 200 Drones ($40,000)

Fireworks Show – 10 Minute Show (5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the drone show) ($30,000)

Port-a-potties ($5,000)

Rent Golf Carts ($3,000)

Fencing/Parking Stakes ($7,500)

Tents ($2,000)

Directional Sign and Marketing ($3,000)

Traffic Control Supplies ($1,500)

Children’s Area ($1,500)

Contingency ($6,500)

TOTAL $100,000

 

PRIVATE PORTION

Band ($25,000)

Sound System and Stage ($15,000)

Beer Garden ($10,000)

TOTAL $50,000

My opinion on incorporating the State of the City with the July celebration is keep them separate.  These 2 events have a completely different draw and purpose.  The State of the City is open to everyone and an indoor venue is more appropriate for this type of event in my opinion.  

I am all about allocating the $50,000 to the July 5th event and taking a look at the other funding needed.  Our city needs events like this.  It seems we have lost several community events to surrounding towns and cities.  We need to be the big draw and provide our community an event they can be proud of.  I like the idea a public/private partnership in the event.  I think it could be a great opportunity for local businesses to get involved.  We need to make this a big event.  

Afternoon Gentlemen

Great discussion on this topic, I appreciate all the feedback and input from staff.  I wanted to update everyone on a few things that are in the works.

I met with Outdoor Amarillo this afternoon.  They are the lead non-profit that has volunteered to organize and host this July 5th event, or as they have named it “July 4th Plus 1”. I like to think that some people have birth”days” but this year we can celebrate our Republic by having a birth”weekend celebration”!

These guys have already put in a ton of work and have most of the private fundraising committed. I believe if we keep the state of the city and July 5th events separate it will be easier on staff and simpler for our volunteers.  As yall know, parks and rec has the 50k from previous years budget to go towards the 100k needed from the COA.  I would propose to fund the additional 50k from our working budget.  This will give us a fantastic fireworks show, first of its kind drone light show, live bands and music to go with the show, several events and fun activities for the families/ youngsters.  There will be several food trucks and drinks available.  All we need now is a beautiful summer day with clear skies.  

We should have all the details worked out in a couple of weeks.  If we can give direction this week on this forum then we can turn them loose to sign commitments with the bands and vendors.  An event that like this that is professionally done and is free for our community to come participate in is exactly what we need to help promote quality of life in our great city.

We can come back to the state of the city discussion as a separate event and what we envision after we finalize this.

Please respond with any questions or concerns.  If none, then I would direct staff to move forward.

 

Thank you 

I agree with the direction moving forward with the July 5th celebration.  It looks like the funding is taken care of.  Really grateful for our Outdoor Amarillo taking the lead.  

I appreciate the response councilman.  We will have a short discussion on this item at Tuesdays council meeting so that we can finalize instruction and move forward with all the booking and preparation needed for the event.  I appreciate the support for this.  It will benefit our entire community.  

 

Thank you