The City Council set aside $200,000 Tuesday to fund a float entry in next year’s Tournament of Roses Parade, but officials are hoping local fundraising efforts will help stretch that allocation to help pay for future entries as well.
A 5-0 vote added $3.5 million to budget expenditures, thanks to a slight increase in City Hall revenue in the final quarter for the current fiscal year. The extra money came from a rise in property and sales taxes as well as charges for services, according to city officials.
The float was part of short list of line items in the budget and would be the first entry in the parade since Glendale missed out on this year’s New Year’s Day event in Pasadena, ending a century-long tradition of participation.
“After the absence of a float, the public has awakened… We’ve gone from apathy to people clamoring for a float,” said Keith Sorem, president of the newly formed Glendale Rose Float Assn., during the council meeting.
The council historically has paid for some or all of the float’s costs — as high as $150,000 in parades past — but a budget shortfall prevented any contributions for a float this year.
Because the deadline for paying at least half of the float’s cost and having a design prepared falls at the end of the month, the council had to vote this week to allocate the $200,000, said City Manager Scott Ochoa.
The nonprofit Glendale Rose Float Assn. has been given the task of embarking on a large fundraising campaign to garner donations from the public as well as corporate sponsorships. Money that’s collected will go toward paying the city back and funding future entries, Sorem said.
Mayor Ara Najarian said the council was able to step up financially this year because of a blip in revenue, but it may not play out the same way next year.
“Unless I see at least $50,000
Sorem said part of the fundraising effort was contingent on informing potential donors there would at least be a float in the 2016 Rose Parade.
“We felt it would be uncomfortable to make commitments until we knew whether we were going to be in the parade,” he said.
The association has already put together a series of corporate sponsorships that require a payment in the tens of thousands that come with a variety of perks and publicity.
Sorem said the goal is for private donations, corporate sponsors and City Hall to each pay a third of costs for float entries.
But the city’s financial situation is uncertain over the next few years.
Councilman Zareh Sinanyan pointed to rising employee retiree costs as a reason why there might not be any money to help build a float in the near future.
“It looks like we’re ready to do the right thing because we can,” he said. “Next year, we’re going to do the right thing and that’s going to be based on what we can or can’t do.”
Ochoa said he hopes, based on how much the association garners in donations, that there would be enough of the $200,000 allocation left over to go toward subsequent years.
If not, the lack of financial support would be a “proof positive” that a float is something the community doesn’t want.
The theme for floats in the 2016 Rose Parade is “Find Your Adventure.”
Councilwoman Laura Friedman said she wants the city’s submission to convey something original about Glendale, like past entries such as the hydraulic one that featured Meatball, a bear that roamed local streets and combed through garbage cans before being made famous on social media.
“There are a lot of people in the community who want to see this succeed and, hopefully, will back it up with their dollars and by helping you go out there and fund-raise,” Friedman told Sorem.
Source: Glendale News-Press