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Council Plans Study Of Special Events
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From Beyond Earth Day to the Relay For Life and from National Night Out to the Cheese and Wine Expo, the City of Riverbank participates each year in as many as 28 special events at a net cost of more than $57,000. In light of continuing tough economic times, Interim City Manager Pam Carder has proposed that the city council needs to discuss this.

Her predecessor Rich Holmer, knowing budget constraints, had begun transferring the responsibility and thus the costs of some of these special events to other community groups to handle, she said, but the council seemed unaware of this transfer.

Carder has reviewed all the special events in which the city participates, whether it is an event run by the city or by a community group, and has come up with the following list in the order in which they occur.

Man of the Year/Citizen of the Year awards dinner, Pajama Rama, Sweetheart Stroll, Beyond Earth Day, Am Jam Skateboard Contest, Easter Egg Hunt, Rabbit Run, Spring Clean, Relay For Life, Fiesta Riverbank, Farmer's Market, Car Show, Movies at the Park, Concerts in the Plaza, Blues and Bibs, National Night Out, Board Blast Skate Competition, Koffee Klatch/Flu Clinic, Low Cost Rabies Clinic, Cheese & Wine Expo, Halloween Hayride, Turkey Trot, Christmas Festival, Shop with a Cop, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Toy Drive/Food Drive, Love Riverbank and Safety Fair.

These events have a net cost to the city of more than $57,000. Approximately $11,000 of this is out of pocket cash for which the city does not receive reimbursement. About $46,000 is in the form of staff time and is spread across nearly every department so the city would generally not save any dollars by reducing its effort. Only about $6,000 of this staff time cost is paid to temporary or part-time workers.

Former City Manager Rich Holmer began moving events from being a staff operated event to one run by community groups. The Riverbank Community Gardens group and Chamber of Commerce, for instance, handled the Farmer's Market, while Blues and Bibs was organized by the Chamber.

"Is that what the Council wants to do?" Carder asked in a memo to the council, seeking discussion and direction. "If so, which events does the council want to try and move out of the city's area of responsibility and funding?"

Some events were removed this last year to community group organization. Carder asks if the council is satisfied with how this went or do they want to move some events back to city control and, if so, which ones?

During recent goal setting, the council indicated it would like to expand opportunities for residents to participate in various events. Carder further asked if there additional events the city would like to see organized? If so, what type and are there issues with any of the current events that need to be addressed, insurance requirements for example, changes in management or changes in venue?

Carder suggested the council should set a study session on the whole subject to have a clear policy moving ahead in 2012.