By David Martin

$10,000 a hard pill for Council


While the Green River City Council approved its tentative budget unanimously last week, one proposed expenditure is the cause for some unease with Council members.

A $10,000 expenditure to the Muley Fanatics Foundation, a locally-operated wildlife conservation group, is included in the city’s list of proposed community service grants. These grants help fund organizations and services provided by Golden Hour Senior Center, Flaming Gorge Days, the county drug treatment court and Climb Wyoming, among others.

The MFF’s request is to help fund its second Mansface Mountain Music Festival, which is scheduled to take place July 19-20. Last year, the group approached the Council for $1,000, which was approved.

For some Council members, the expenditure is difficult because the money goes to a private organization and an event geared towards raising funds to pay for the MFF’s mule-deer study. Councilman Gary Killpack believes the city could be opening a “can of worms” if it funds this request, saying the city may be put into a position of receiving requests from similar organizations for their events.

He’s also opposed to the idea of allowing camping within city limits for the event, believing the request creates unfair competition with local campgrounds.

“I just have a hard time giving $10,000 ... it’s not the same as Flaming Gorge Days,” Killpack said, citing an argument MFF founder Josh Coursey made while speaking to the Council about the music festival.

Under its current management, Flaming Gorge Days is a fundraising event for the Green River URA/Main Street organization, which hopes to generate revenue for its downtown development fund. Prior to this arrangement, the event was hosted by a nonprofit organization which used the proceeds from the weekend events to fund future FGD events.

Councilman Jim Zimmerman voiced support for Killpack’s stance on the issue, saying the music festival was a financial failure for the MFF, which lost approximately $40,000. While he is supportive of a sponsorship agreement with the MFF for the event, he believes $10,000 is a difficult amount to justify to city residents. Councilman Mike Shutran is also uneasy with the amount, reminding other Council members that Coursey claimed he would seek an increased amount next year if the city fully funds his request.

However, there are Council members in support of the request as well. Councilwoman Lisa Maes believes the event should be funded, saying she believes the MFF learned from mistakes made during last year’s music festival and believes the event is large enough to warrant support from the city.

She also said the city’s logo will be on regional advertisements for the event, thinking the city should look at the issue from a marketing perspective.

“I’m supportive of it,” she said.

Mayor Pete Rust is also supportive of the expenditure, believing conservation to be one of the biggest interests in the community. While the profits do fund the organization’s conservation work, he said that work does enhance wildlife in the region, which is a reason people visit the county.

“It’s not to go out and drink beer or anything, as far as profits,” Rust said.

Councilman Tom Murphy also voiced support for the event and expenditure, believing the National High School Finals Rodeo does not bring in the money local governments were told it would.

Councilman Robert Berg said he’s on the fence with funding the $10,000 request. He said he agrees with Maes about the event bringing tourists to Green River, but said the request represents 25 percent of the amount the MFF lost after last year’s event.

“I just don’t know if I can go for that,” he said.

The tentative 2019-2020 budget can still be modified or changed before the Council approves its final budget at its June 18 meeting.


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