The Oak Ridge City Council on Thursday will consider whether to approve up to $75,000 in funding for expenses associated with the 2017 Secret City Festival.
The money would allow Celebrate Oak Ridge, the new nonprofit organization responsible for the festival, to pay expenses for this year’s festival, which started Friday, June 2, and ended Saturday, June 10.
The city has previously provided $50,000 in start-up funding for the new organization. That funding was considered in December.
On June 6, Celebrate Oak Ridge, an organization run by volunteers, requested additional funding from City Manager Mark Watson to “timely meet contractual obligations associated with the festival, including entertainment costs and other vendors fees,” according to a resolution that City Council members will consider Thursday.
“Celebrate Oak Ridge does not have sufficient capital reserves to meet their contractual obligations during the final week of the festival, which would impact this and potentially future events,” the resolution said.
The resolution said the festival is “an opportunity to showcase community pride and the diversity of Oak Ridge to current and prospective residential and business citizens.”
In past festivals, the Arts Council of Oak Ridge, which used to present the festival along with the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, had received approval for up to $150,000 in expenses, the resolution said.
Under an emergency purchases section of the city code, the city manager authorized an advanced expenditure of funds to meet the festival obligations and protect the public interest of the city, the resolution said. That authorization was made while under time limitations imposed by the festival and with verbal support from a majority of Council members, according to the resolution.
Celebrate Oak Ridge will be required to submit a full accounting of all festival event revenues and expenditures by July 14, and any leftover funds will be repaid to the city, the resolution said.
In a June 9 memo to City Council members, Watson said there have been additional festival sponsorships, but more money is needed this first year.
The city manager said he received the request for the additional money in early June, “when much of the advertising and contracts were already in place for the Secret City Festival.”
As a new organization, “Celebrate Oak Ridge has faced unanticipated demands upon its finances,” Watson said.
“In the interest of the city, and in consultation with the City Council, the city manager has provided additional funding and a cash advance to the organization to meet demands of the festival,” Watson said.
The Thursday meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom at 200 South Tulane Avenue. You can see the agenda here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today.
Copyright 2017 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.