Funding approved for summer events
May 11, 2017
At its May 2 meeting the Niwot LID Advisory Committee heard a preview at what’s shaping up to be another busy summer around town.
Before considering the four funding requests on the agenda, the Co-chair Laura Skaggs reviewed the February 2017 revenue report. According to figures from Boulder County, LID sales tax collections for that month were $15,898, which is nearly 40 percent higher than the same period last year ($11,390). Members were surprised and pleased by the sharp increase, but mildly skeptical of the figure’s reliability, especially since there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason why collections would jump so much. A brief discussion about inviting the Boulder County’s LID sales tax liaison to an upcoming meeting followed.
Next, the committee heard from member Bruce Warren, appearing on behalf of the Niwot Cultural Arts Association (NCAA) and the Niwot Business Association (NBA) who co-manage Niwo’t summer concert series. Warren requested $10,000 for Niwot’s annual Rock & Rails concert series, now in its 12th season, which is the same amount approved for the past several years.
The 2017 series kicks off on Thursday, June 1, with a total of 14 concerts on each Thursday night through August 31. As in years past, a Happy Hour act will take the stage at 5 p.m., followed by the Main Act, which goes from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Food and beverages, including beer, wine and margaritas, will again be available from local vendors.
Last year, Rock & Rails earned $25,596, which was split evenly between the NCAA and the NBA, with funds put towards such projects as the Niwot Children’s Park and improvements to Whistlestop Park. Concert-goers also donated just under $11,500 to Tip Jars at the concerts, an average of $888 per night.
This year, the NCAA has budgeted for $122,740 in total expenses, which is about 24 percent higher than last year’s actual total of $98,855. The increase is due primarily to the NCAA’s purchase of a refrigerated beer trailer from Bootstrap Brewery for $13,000, and purchase of lifts to get the speakers off of the ground.. Bootstrap will remain the event’s main beverage sponsor, but “guest beers” from other local breweries may be available this season.
The NCAA also budgeted for an increase in parking control and sheriff’s deputies, based on last year’s higher costs, and the Pedicab budget was doubled from $50 to $100 per night.
The $10,000 from the LID will go towards advertising and staffing costs. The request was approved with all present voting in favor, with Warren abstaining.
Chuck Klueber of the NBA Streetscapes committee requested $18,000 for the care and maintenance of live flowers along 2nd Avenue and in Cottonwood Square from mid-May through September, which is the same amount that was approved last year. Of the $18,000, $7,400 is allocated for materials and supplies to fill about 100 separate planters throughout Niwot, including 62 hanging pots. The remaining $10,600 is allocated for the labor costs for the twice-daily watering and maintenance of the pots along 2nd Avenue, which averages to about $100 per day. Business owners in Cottonwood Square maintain the pots in front of their shops.
In the vigorous, but polite debate that followed, Co-Chair Skaggs questioned the relatively high amount of the request, which, if approved, would consume about 13.5 percent of the LID budget for the year.
“It concerns me that we keep putting this icing on the cake each summer,” she remarked, further noting that average summer jobs pay about half of what the NBA is proposing to pay their waterers. “Maybe 100 pots are more than we can afford.”
Co-Chair Carrie Wise, who supervises the operation, noted that twice daily watering is more labor intensive than it seems, and past efforts to keep such costs down (e.g. asking business owners to maintain the pots, hiring students) produced less than desirable results.
Other members agreed that the cost seems disproportionately high, but said they felt the beautification and “placemaking” efforts paid off in the long run.
“The flowers add so much to the ambience of Niwot,” Warren said. “If it wasn’t a good idea, we’d hear from the business owners.”
After some additional discussion about potential ways to reduce the labor involved, the request was approved with six yes votes while Wise abstained.
Klueber’s second request was for additional outdoor furniture for the concrete “bump-out” area on 2nd Avenue. Noting the area has become a “focal point” for many community events, including the pet costume contest and First Friday Art Walks, Klueber requested $2,830 to purchase four tables, 16 chairs and six umbrellas, to be added to the existing pieces to make six complete sets.
Another robust discussion followed, as many members felt the furniture would unfairly benefit a single business, namely a future coffee shop which is adjacent to the patio. Wise reminded the group that technically the bump-out is county property, and open to the public, not just coffee shop patrons. Suggesting the business should have “some skin in the game,” member Tony Santelli proposed splitting the cost, but that was seen as problematic for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, the request was tabled pending a discussion with the new owners.
The evening’s final request came from the Niwot Community Association’s Kathy Koehler, who requested $1,390 for advertising and promotional costs associated with the town’s 4th of July Parade and celebration. Her request was approved unanimously.
Klueber provided the committee with an update to the kiosk project. Unfortunately, changes to the design of the pieces, as well as Boulder County regulations, have increased the “complexity and cost” of the project, and will likely delay it by several months. Klueber did report that the committee had selected two likely locations for the Kiosks, one near Abo’s in Cottonwood Square, and the other on the concrete apron in front of the Tribune Building on 2nd and Franklin.
The Committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6 at the Mountain View Fire Station.