Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Action on Riverfest Bill Put Off

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Action on Riverfest Bill Put Off

Article excerpt

After much discussion, the St. Charles City Council voted 5-4 Tuesday night to hold over a bill that would make the Fourth of July Riverfest a one-day event, instead of the usual two or three days. Members of the council will meet with the Jaycees, who usually sponsor the event, to determine the length of the event in the future and who will pay the tab.

"We will get together as a smaller group and try to work out these issues and fine-tune some of these things," said council member Patricia York, 1st Ward.

The proposed bill states that the festival will last only one day and that a committee selected by the mayor would be in charge of the festival. Many council members say they are unsatisfied with the bill.

The council's biggest concerns are the estimated $34,000 the city spends each year to help with the festival - $23,000 in police overtime alone - and the beer gardens, which some say leads intoxicated participants to roam the streets in the downtown area.

"I don't feel the city is in the business of entertainment. I've heard nothing but negative on the Riverfest," said Councilman Jerry Keim, 5th Ward. "I have a problem establishing a Fourth of July committee. Where's the money coming from? The guidelines don't say anything. I cannot support it knowing it will come out of our tax money. There will not be one penny of taxes spent on this. That's the only way I can support this."

"Twenty-three thousand for police overtime," said York. "I don't think that's a wise investment in time or money." The rest of the money that the city spends on the festival goes for things like cleanup and electricity.

The Jaycees have run the event for the past 30 years and all of the proceeds benefit charitable organizations. Close to $40,000 was raised last year, much of that from beer sales.

"I've always been a strong supporter of the festival. We need to look at the overall benefit of the city," said council member Vicki White, 4th Ward. "They (charitable organizations) would be at our doorstep if they didn't have it. I am not in support of one day. I will not be supportive of a bill that doesn't solve problems. …

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