Pioneer Days funding up for a debate

by Karin Craig
For the Union

The city of St. Francis’ future financial involvement in the Pioneer Days community celebration is up for debate.

City funding for the annual Pioneer Days community celebration in St. Francis is up for debate.

City funding for the annual Pioneer Days community celebration in St. Francis is up for debate.File photo

“The city pays $30,000 a year for Pioneer Days and that doesn’t include the $10,000 the liquor store puts in,” said St. Francis Mayor Jerry Tveit.

“We’re laying people off because we can’t afford to keep them and we’re throwing a party for $30,000. That’s 1 percent of the tax levy. I’m in favor of keeping Pioneer Days, but not in favor of the city paying for it.”

Tveit’s statement summarized similar comments from the rest of the council at its meeting Monday during a report on Pioneer Days planning by City Clerk Barb Held.

Every person who attended the last Pioneer Days planning meeting said they wanted to see Pioneer Days continue in St. Francis, Held told the council.

What the event’s planners need to know — and soon — is whether the city plans to fund any portion of the celebration in June 2013. Vendors are making plans and scheduling is happening, she said.

The next Pioneer Days planning meeting will take place Oct. 23. Tveit proposed that councilmembers take time before the next council meeting on Oct. 15 to think about how they want to handle the issue, consult with city staff about what can and can’t be done, and come prepared to discuss the matter and hopefully have an answer for the planning committee.

City staff and council members are encouraging citizens to attend planning meetings and are asking business leaders and volunteers to step forward if they want to see Pioneer Days continue.

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