Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Committee seeks city funding

 


A week after explaining their plight to the Sweetwater County Commissioners, members of the Flaming Gorge Days Committee approached the Green River City Council to explain their situation and, possibly, receive some funding.

After several years of declining revenues, the committee’s reserve funds took a severe hit last year when the 2014 celebration resulted in a $54,000 loss the committee blames on poor weather during the Friday night concert. The loss cut their reserve funding to approximately $120,000 and placing the board in a situation where another severe loss this year would prohibit the committee from hosting a 2016 Flaming Gorge Days.

However, according to Deli Frantzen, the committee’s chairperson, severe budget problems have existed since at least 2007, when she served as the chair for the concert committee.

At that time, Frantzen said the committee chair for the event was forced to take out a $45,000 line of credit to host the event. That line of credit was paid back through revenues gained from the ticket and beer sales, but served as her first introduction to the budgetary problems the committee faces. Nearly eight years later, Frantzen said the committee refuses to take out a similar loan to pay for the event.

As with their discussion last week at the Sweetwater County Courthouse, committee members seek $100,000 to bolster their fledgling reserves to continue the event. That amount would be on top of any revenues generated by this year’s Flaming Gorge Days event. According to Drew Varley, the committee’s treasurer, Flaming Gorge Days costs approximately $220,000 to host with a barebones budget. Any less and the event would see a noticeable drop in quality, he said.

“We’re looking for sustainment, not looking for big shots,” Frantzen said.

Council members voiced their support for the event, but were cautious about supporting the full $100,000. Councilman Brett Stokes announced his support of the committee, saying he wants to work with them to find a solution to their problem, not wanting to beat the committee up over their finances as he believed the commissioners did last week. Councilman Gary Killpack he would support a one time, $75,000 payment to the committee out of the city’s unappropriated funds on top of the $24,000 already budgeted for the event, but with the caveat that the city audits the committee’s financial records.

Frantzen said some people have accused committee members of mishandling or pocketing funds generated from sales at the concerts. Denying those claims, she said money is taken to a nearby safe at the event, then deposited to another safe at Trona Valley Federal Credit Union.

“It’s not mishandled,” she said.

Mayor Pete Rust said the city would respond to the Flaming Gorge Days committee’s funding request at its March 17 meeting.

 

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