Niles won’t fund RiverfestPublished 7:44pm Monday, July 22, 2013
By the slimmest of margins, the Niles City Council voted to allow the Niles Riverfest to continue without a $2,500 contribution from the city.
Mayor Mike McCauslin broke a 4-4 tie with his vote supporting a motion to not provide a monetary contribution to the festival during Monday’s regular meeting.
Councilmembers David Mann, Scott Clark, Georgia Boggs and Bill Weimer all supported the motion, with Dan VandenHeede, Robert Durm, Tim Skalla and Gretchen Bertschy dissenting.
The motion was initially brought up during the council’s meeting July 8, but was tabled to determine, among other things, if it was legal for the city to use taxpayer dollars to fund festivals.
Clark said the city attorney determined it is illegal for the city to donate to events not sponsored by the city of Niles.
“It’s not that I don’t like the festivals and stuff — I like them — but there’s 5,000 people down there and 14,000 paying taxes,” said Clark, adding he believes downtown festivals should go through the Niles DDA in the future.
Mann questioned the legality of funding the Riverfest at the council’s last meeting.
“The reason we are addressing this now is it took me months of research to come across these documents [about the legality],” he said. “I didn’t have them earlier in the summer or I would’ve presented them then.”
Niles Riverfest is scheduled for Aug. 1-4 in Riverfront Park.