Editorial: City should hold off giving to festivalsPublished 10:37pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tough times call for tough decisions, and sometimes those decisions aren’t the popular choice.
The Niles City Council received a request from the Niles Bluegrass Festival Monday for $2,500 to promote the event. It approved the request 4-2.
Although this sum seems like a drop in the bucket, consider the fact the council is likely going to make budget cuts this year, and those may include jobs. If the choice is between a festival and people’s jobs, we choose jobs.
A good point was made by council member Scott Clark, who believes the city should only contribute funding for festivals that need upstart money — those in the first two or three years of existence. After that, they should find ways to be self-sustaining.
The bluegrass festival — which should be noted, is a good festival and a unique draw for visitors — is 10 years old. If the community wants the festival to remain here, citizens need to make it happen.
The festival is not any different from other events in that it needs to find a way to bring in money to operate.
The city had to cut two police officers this past year, including the captain position. The fire department lost a firefighter this year and downsized to three-man shifts. The department of public works lost its assistant director in 2011 and is down four employees from a decade ago.
While festivals are a great source of entertainment and a draw for tourists, if the city needs to make cuts, services and people should be the priority.
This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.