The City of Northfield is hosting a meeting with community event organizers tomorrow night, Wed. March 24, 7 pm. It’s not clear who from City Hall will be there and who’s invited (it’s open to the public) because other than the date and time, there’s no meeting information available that I could find. I’m told that packets have been sent out to various stakeholders. I don’t know why the general public can’t have access to them.
Update 3/25/10: photos from last night’s meeting:
The 2010 Mayor and Council budget included a $31,000 line item transfer in for the City expenditures supporting Community Events. $25,000 was transferred from the Police Department overtime budget and $6,000 was transferred from the Public Works/Street Division overtime budget. These funds were used in previous years to cover the staff time used in supporting community events.
Examples of previous city expenditures of community support include, but are not limited to: Defeat of Jesse James Days, showmobile events, Taste of Northfield, etc. To expend these funds in 2010, council will need to take action to approve and authorize the transfer of funds to another department that expends the resources.
The proposed method to accomplish distribution of these funds would be to develop an in-kind grant program similar to the process used for the Grace Whittier Fund. The Grace Whittier Fund was created in 1988 as a result of a gift from the estate of long time Northfield resident, Grace Whittier. The purpose of the Whittier Fund is to support recreational opportunities for Northfield youth.
The City of Northfield has created a grant process to award monies from the Whittier Fund to Northfield area organizations that program recreational activities for children and youth. The Community Events In-Kind Grant Program could function in a similar way to provide an open, inclusive, transparent way to make decisions on providing city funding for community events. Some of the elements of this program could include:
All applications would be due at one time to allow for consistent review and consideration;
• Applications would be due by April 30, 2010. An earlier deadline should be established for subsequent years;
• Review of the community event in-kind grant program/event application by staff. Staff would provide estimated city costs related to the proposed event and other recommendations/proposed conditions as needed;
• The Council developing the criteria guidelines for awarding these grants based on the values and goals the council would want these events to help achieve;
• Review of the application by a small work group of city council members who would then make recommendations on the events and in-kind grant award amounts to be funded;
• Grant applications and recommendations submitted to the entire council to approve the in-kind grant awards.
In response to this new method of community event support management, staff has developed a proposed application and policy related to events/use of public property. As noted above, the actual in-kind grant program needs to be developed to address the distribution of funds. Staff recognizes that there are many smaller events that occur throughout the year that exceed the amount budgeted and may not be known at the time of the grant application process.
Listed below is an example of community events that currently occur on public property that involve the use of in-kind support (whether it be through waiving of fees, staff support through delivery & pickup of equipment, police assistance, etc.). The associated costs incurred by the City exceed the $31,000 budgeted.
• Defeat of Jesse James Days
• Taste of Northfield
• Showmobile events
• July 4th Celebration
• Arts Swirl
• Crazy Days
• Winter Walk
• Bike Races
• Parades (St. Patrick’s Day)
• Other Walkathons, Marathons, etc.
• Other Misc. Events
In addition to the community event in-kind grant program and related cost implications of special events, a method/policy is needed to ensure that decisions regarding approval or denial for events are:
• Being considered using an open, inclusive, transparent method using the same set of criteria
• Appropriate insurances & licenses are being obtained/City’s risk exposure is being properly evaluated
• Protection of public health, safety and welfare of citizens is adequately addressed • Adequate staffing levels are in place to provide for the event.
Currently community in-kind support for events/use of public property are approved through several different processes related to the specific needs of each event such as: