NEWS HEADLINES

Council reinstates rodeo sponsorship

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Persistence paid off for the Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo committee.

At a meeting last Tuesday, the Bridgeport City Council approved by a 3-2 vote the disbursement of $7,500 in hotel occupancy tax (HOT) dollars to pay for advertising for what the rodeo committee members describe as “the largest of its kind.”

The same request failed due to lack of a motion at a meeting March 19. Rodeo committee members spoke during the public comment portion of the council’s next meeting, April 2, requesting the officials reconsider the petition.

In their second request, the committee broke down the amount into two requests – one for $5,000 and another for $2,500 – and provided a budget outlining how the money would be spent for print, billboard and radio advertising to promote an event that benefits a number of local charities and triples economic numbers during its occurrence.

“It helps the Lions Club… the Wise County Aggie Club scholarship fund, Rodeo Pink for breast cancer awareness,” said committee member Lloyd Williams at the April 2 meeting. “As far as the economical impact, you get three times the pay-off. The average payoff is $60,000, which would generate $180,000 that week through meals, hotels, gas, auto repairs, etc.”

Williams also pointed out that the rodeo draws participants not just from the local area – renowned cowboys Trevor Brazile, Tuf Cooper, Cliff Cooper and Clint Cooper – but from all over the U.S. and Canada.

City officials clarified that their concern was not that they didn’t support the rodeo, but simply financial.

During last year’s budget-writing process, officials did not include any funds for facade grants – one permissible use of HOT funds. However, the council has received several applications and has approved most of them.

When they realized “most of what had been allotted had been spent,” they hesitated to approve any more and initially denied the rodeo committee’s request – one which actually was funded in the original budget.

City staff pointed out that HOT dollar revenue continues to trickle in, and the fund has a “healthy” savings.

Although “nobody ever wants to dip into savings,” the benefit and appeal of the rodeo swayed three of the five councilmembers to vote for the $7,500 allottment. Councilmembers Kathy Kennedy and Bobby Brazier cast the opposing votes.

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also:

  • approved the $5,655 purchase of an add-on module for the electronic records management software purchased earlier this month. The add-on, to be used by the municipal court, scans multiple, standard documents at once and recognizes what each is based on pre-programmed identifiers. “It essentially replaces a staff member,” City Secretary Jesica McEachern said. “Right now we have someone scanning each document one at a time, putting it into Laserfiche (the records management software), entering index data to make it searchable later and saving it to the correct file. Quickfields (the add-on) eliminates that.”
  • extended an engineering services contract with Baird, Hampton and Brown for the extension of a gas utility line, as part of the 2012 Texas Capital Fund Grant.
  • approved the closure of Cates Street between Ninth and 10th streets May 6-13 for the Butterfield Stage Days.
  • OK’d an airport hangar lease transfer from Larry Neal to Brad Richey by a vote of 3-2 with Councilmembers Kennedy and Brazier opposed.
  • waived the deposit and rental fee of the Community Center for a benefit quarter auction.
  • agreed to continue its participation with the steering committee of cities served by Oncor and to pay 10 cents per capita to fund regulatory activities.
  • approved the minutes of the April 2 regular council meeting and reviewed the April 4 through 17 payment report.

City officials and residents will meet 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the flagpole in front of City Hall to support domestic violence awareness month.

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