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Council reallocates money for special events

Film Festival, Christmas Boat Parade receive most consideration, as other events were ranked accordingly.

May 28, 2012|By Amy Senk

The Newport Beach City Council reworked the budget for special event financial support at its recent meeting, deciding the Newport Beach Film Festival and Christmas Boat Parade were iconic events that deserved the most support and generally deciding that the entire process needs to be reworked, possibly in a future study session.

The Corona del Mar Christmas Walk sought $10,000, but staff suggested it receive $3,000. In the end, the council voted to award the event $6,000.

This was the second year that city staff and a Special Events Advisory Committee sought applications from special events organizers, then conducted public interviews, in order to decide which groups would get fee waivers or other financial assistance from the city.

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Previously, events were granted waivers for things like trash removal, traffic control and permits on a case-by-case basis, causing city staff to worry about the lack of consistency and oversight.

After the committee ranked the events, city staff then divided $180,560 in allocated city funds to 10 events.

The group decided to grant the No. 1-ranked event, the Christmas Boat Parade, $35,000, up $5,000 from a year ago. They also voted to give the Film Festival the entire $125,000 that organizers sought — an increase from the $87,500 that staff proposed, and an increase from last year's funding of $90,000. Council members also decided to give the Newport to Ensenada yacht race $10,000, down from last year's $12,000 and the $30,000 organizers sought, but up from the $3,000 that staff proposed.

Councilman Steve Rosansky suggested that the Film Festival and Boat Parade be considered separately in the future as line items in the City Council's bigger budget talks because the two events are culturally iconic and boost tourism and positive attention to the city.

Several council members questioned why the Newport-Mesa Spirit Run's funding more than doubled from last year — from $14,000 to a proposed $29,500 — and whether it was a system designed to reward those who asked for the most. In the end, they voted to give the Spirit Run the same $14,000 it received last year.

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