Events: Council seeks help

stillwaterAfter discussions revolving around policy and ideas about top concerns when it comes to events, the Stillwater City Council agreed Tuesday they need event planning help.

Despite council members saying that a community committee might be the best way to go at a past meeting, they decided the city needs someone with event-planning experience to present ideas, establish policy and help the city navigate planning events.

“There has been a committee, it’s called a survey,” Councilman Tom Weidner said.

Weidner also agreed with Councilman Mike Polehna that the council needs someone who can promote an community-wide event that gains support of downtown businesses, get groups involved and tie them together.

“We need to bring in somebody who can tie all these groups together, We can use our CVB (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) money and get someone in here to coordinate and put it together,” Polehna said. “We need someone to somehow give direction to it. People do this for a living.”

Mayor Ken Harycki added that he didn’t want to micromanage an event and is should be up to an event promoter as long as they follow established council guidelines.

The total CVB amount Finance Director Sharon Harrison said the city had access to was $10,000, which she added covered administration costs.

“It’s a start,” Polehna said.

“We can check our list servs and see what people are out there for event planning,” City Administrator Larry Hansen said to Community Development Director Bill Turnblad. “I’m sure we can find a person, but how do we fund it is the question. I think we’ll have to get creative with how we fund that because funding something like that out of taxes isn’t something that a lot of people would go for.”

“Good ideas bring money,” Councilman Doug Menikheim said.

City Attorney David Magnuson cautioned that if the city does something with the CVB money, it must determine if they would subsidize in-kind services.

Councilman Ted Kozlowski agreed, saying most non-profits would want to get something from it for their benefit if they helped with the event.

“If we got all the different non-profits involved the event needs to generate some revenue, especially if it would go to fund downtown beautification projects,” he said.
The idea of downtown beautification project funding through events was mentioned at the 4:30 p.m. meeting regarding the downtown revitalization presentation by The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and Rick Cummings.

Also at both meetings council:

  • Unanimously approved the July 20 Stillwater Log Run after the finish line was changed to lot 9. The October race will be presented to the council at a later date after the finish line is determined.
  • Heard the Fire Department’s annual report from Fire Chief Stu Glaser. He said there was a 19 percent increase in call volume in 2012 from 2011 and a 9 percent increase in this year’s first quarter from last year at 383 calls. The budget remains stable with little increase and service contracts in place with Grant, May Township, and Stillwater Township. Glaser said 80 percent of calls are in Stillwater, 10 percent in Stillwater Township which is up a bit and 5 percent in Grant which is also up slightly. Four percent of calls are in May Township.
  • Approved an addition to a garage and second floor of a home in the 100 block of Lakeside Drive. It needed to be approved due to increased impervious surfaces.
  • Approved a $500 stipend to be paid to the intern for the city who prepared the study on the athletic fields.