By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Despite a setback Monday evening, Clint Holland is still moving forward with plans for a Dec. 13 Christmas concert at Keizer Civic Center.
His request to the Keizer City Council for a waiver in use fees for city hall was denied by a 6-1 vote on Monday, so his request now is for businesses to help him offset the costs.
“I’m still going to try and do it,” Holland said following Monday’s vote. “I’m trying to make it an annual event and want it to stay in Keizer.”
Holland had brought up the idea during the Oct. 19 council meeting. While there was support expressed for the idea, there were concerns at the time about the city being asked to waive some fees.
Those concerns were expressed again this week, starting when city manager Chris Eppley introduced the topic. Holland submitted a report with estimated income and expenses, with expenses estimated at $12,970 and income estimated at $9,350 including 300 tickets at $30 each. The expenses included city fees of $2,575; Eppley said the city fees would be $3,325 including a $1,500 refundable deposit.
Eppley said councilors had four options: deny Holland’s request for discounts altogether, waive the deposit, further discount the rental rate of $1,600 or waive the rental rate altogether. However, he expressed concern over precedent being set with a discount.
“Though I truly appreciate Mr. Holland’s spirit of volunteerism – he’s just an incredible volunteer – and desire to provide new and interesting events for the community to participate in, this particular event does not appear to have a community purpose beyond simply being an entertaining ticketed event,” Eppley said. “So as to not set the precedent of waiving fees for other ticketed or unticketed events held at the community center without a clear community or charitable nature, staff recommends not waiving any fees for the event other than, perhaps, the refundable deposit, and only if Mr. Holland agrees to reimburse the city should any damage be done to the facility attributable to the event.”
Mayor Cathy Clark agreed with Eppley.
“I agree that Clint Holland helps make the summer wonderful with the Summer Concert Series,” Clark said. “But when we have ticketed events, there is a difference between free and ticketed events.”
Councilor Roland Herrera wanted Holland to explain how the event could be interpreted as a community event and thus eligible for a discount.
“When you say ticketed event, that is where you charge extra money, like for the band,” Holland said. “We’re been talking needing $15 to $18 to cover the food. We need to know how many will show up, or else we waste time and money on the food. The $15 to $18 would cover the meal, but the rest would be free for people to come into the event.”
Holland also gave more description of the event.
“Patrick Lamb does a fabulous Christmas program,” he said. “It will be the day after the parade. Things like this are good for the community. I’d rather have it on a Saturday, but that wasn’t possible because it was already booked.”
Council president Dennis Koho made a motion to waive all costs except a sunk cost of $360 and a $225 security deposit, with the rest of the fees waived unless damage was done to the facility at the event.
Councilor Kim Freeman asked if other events have costs waived.
“As a council we’ve discussed being fair and equitable,” Freeman said. “A lot of other people in the community do fabulous things as well. I want to make sure we’re not setting a precedent for one event. When it comes back to the budget, sometimes there’s heartburn about how much we subsidize the community center.”
Eppley noted the general fund subsidizes the community center to the tune of about $80,000 a year.
“It’s a misnomer to say those fees (from Holland’s event) would be profit,” Eppley said. “The kinds of events with waived fees in the past have been typically charitable events, like proceeds to Marion Polk Food Share.”
Herrera shared Freeman’s concern.
“I appreciate Clint’s idea trying to get something going,” Herrera said. “But the precedent thing I have a problem with. Clint has done so much for Keizer, I get that. But if we set a precedent, does that mean we’d have to do that for everybody?”
Eppley said that would be the case.
“Council in the future will be asked you did (the fee waiver) for this person, why not do it for us?” Eppley said. “I supposed you could say, ‘We like Clint and we don’t like you,’ but that’s not a good reason.”
When it came time to vote on Koho’s motion, he was outvoted 6-1. As such, Holland will have to pay the $3,325 in city fees.
Holland was disappointed afterwards but also understanding.
“The Keizer City Council has always been supportive of me,” he said. “I understand totally where they come from on this. I am actively trying to find sponsors for this event.”