The Newport Beach City Council will consider granting $180,560 to ten special events in the next fiscal year, including $3,000 to the Corona del Mar Christmas Walk.
Last year, the Council tripled that amount and awarded the Christmas Walk $9,000, which organizers said saved the 34-year-old event; read our story here. This year, organizers had sought $10,000. An email seeking comment from the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce, which organizes and hosts the Christmas Walk, was not returned.
This is the second year that the city had a Special Events Advisory Committee receive and review applications from various community event organizers who are asking for fee waivers and other financial assistance from the city. 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.
Last year, the committee suggested awarding $183,880 to 11 events, and the City Council decided to increase the funding to four events, adding $31,000 at a June meeting; read our story here.
This year, the total budget is reduced by about $33,000.
“When the pie gets smaller, no one’s happy,” City Manager Dave Kiff said in an email “Insider’s Guide” to the Tuesday Council meeting.
Kiff said the events were all worthy of support, and that the city is fairly unique in supporting them with cash sponsorships or fee waivers.
“But with most things these days, the ‘asks’ are greater than the budget can squeeze out,” his email said.
The Special Events Advisory Committee members met publicly in February and March and interviewed applicants, then scored and ranked proposals. Then staff recommended the dollars to go with those rankings.
According to a staff report, 15 organizations submitted applications for a total of $489,400 in requested funding assistance.
Five events were at the bottom of the list, with no funding recommendations made to support them.
The top event was the Christmas Boat Parade, which sought $50,000 and with $35,000 in recommended funding this year. Last year, the approved support was $30,000.
The Newport Beach Film Festival sought $125,000 and is recommended to receive $87,500. Last year, that event received $90,000 in support. The third event on the list is the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure, which sought $20,000 and is recommended to receive $10,000, the same as last year. Fourth place was the Spirit Run, which sought $59,000 and is recommended to receive $29,500, up from $14,000 last year.
The Balboa Island Parade came next, just above the Christmas Walk, with a request for $3,200 and a recommendation for $960, down from $1,200 last year.
Click here to see the staff report.
The item is on the Council’s consent agenda, but members of the public or Council members may ask that it be removed from the consent calendar for further discussion. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd. The public may attend and make comments. The meeting also will be streamed on the city’s website.
This year’s Christmas Walk is scheduled for Sunday Dec. 2. Read about last year’s walk here and here.