Organizations: Funding cuts can seriously impact events

Budget cuts around Jefferson City have caused organizations, businesses and even city administrators to rethink in what events they invest their funding. While cut funding has been restored for some events, others haven’t been so lucky.

Because of a $1.68 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus proposed a $10,000, full-funding cut from the city to Salute to America in February. The City Council approved a $5,000 budget cut to the annual two-day Fourth of July event. The city then made up for the cut by pulling $5,000 from a special events fund.

Salute to America is receiving the usual $10,000 in funding from the city for the 2013 event.

“I’m glad to see that we were able to find a way to keep it at the current level of $10,000 as opposed to the $5,000 that was talked about at one time,” said Mayor Eric Struemph.

Bill Betts, interim city finance director, said there was enough money in the special events fund to cover Salute to America at this time.

“Is there something that’s going to come along later in the year where we are short? I’m not real sure,” Betts said. “No one around here can think of anything. We still have about $3,700 left in that account right now.”

Jill Snodgrass, an event coordinator with Daily Plan-It who has planned Salute to America the past 10 years, said it’s important for her to be aware of funding and how it changes.

“You can only spend what you can bring in through sponsorships or grant money or whatever you can generate,” Snodgrass said. “So, if you can’t generate the funds, you can’t spend them, and that means less of an event for your patrons, unless you can make up those funds.”

Struemph said he didn’t want the city’s budget cuts to affect Salute to America because it’s the largest event hosted in Jefferson City.

“I think it is a good investment in our community and helps bring in a lot of tax dollars and sales tax revenue while people are here because it’s a multi-day event,” he said.

Missouri River Regional Library is another organization experiencing budget cuts, causing the organization to eliminate sponsorships and participation in any events not held inside the library or on library property. One such event includes the Old Munichburg Oktoberfest.

MRRL Director Helen Rigdon said in a letter to Becky Bocklage, Old Munichburg’s president, that because of a failed levy election in August, the library is facing a $117,000 deficit in its 2013 budget.

The 10-cent levy increase would have provided an additional $1.4 million to $1.5 million in the library’s budget to help pay for new technology, repairs to the aging building and to increase services in both Cole and Osage counties.

“Unfortunately, our budget had to be adjusted to make up this large shortfall and the last thing the library wished to do is cut any employee positions or reduce traditional library services, including purchasing of materials and library programming,” Rigdon said in the letter.

MRRL had always been in charge of the Kids Corner at Oktoberfest, buying all of the supplies and putting together packets for each child. In addition to buying supplies, Rigdon said the library would also pay four employees for an eight-hour day staffing the event.

“The library always brought activities for kids to do, including crafts, games and a bounce house,” said Cathy Zumwalt, Oktoberfest event coordinator. “We’re still going to have the Kids Corner no matter what.”

She said the Old Munichburg Association is looking for anyone willing to help out.

“The library played a big part and I appreciate all they did,” Zumwalt said. “I know that with budget cuts, it hurts.”

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