ALAMOSA — On a split motion Wednesday night, the Alamosa city council agreed to help sponsor three events scheduled this summer and fall in Alamosa.
The council will provide $5,000 for the Alamosa Round-up Rodeo, $2,500 for the Alamosa Live Music Association’s (ALMA) Sundays at Six concerts and $5,000 for the new “Beat the Heat” barbecue competition.
The requests from these groups were $7,500 for the rodeo, $5,000-10,000 for Beat the Heat and $2,500 for Sundays at Six.
The sponsorship funding approved this week is $500 more than the $12,000 the council had budgeted as a line item for City Sponsorship of Community Special Events.
Although not opposed to supporting the events, Councilors Rusty Johnson and Marcia Tuggle voted against the sponsorships at those amounts, and Councilors Greg Gillaspie, Charles Griego, Josef Lucero, Leland Romero and Mayor Kathy Rogers voted for the sponsorships.
These three organizations were the only ones to officially request sponsorship funding. This budget item is different than the funding the city provides for nonprofit organizations such as the senior citizen center. The sponsorships are more along the lines of economic development for events that bring visitors to the city, Mayor Rogers explained.
Tuggle said the city had helped the rodeo get on its feet, and this will be the fourth year the city has financially supported that group. The city will give similar assistance to “Beat the Heat” as a new group with the potential of drawing large numbers of visitors to Alamosa. Tuggle said the group with the least ability to raise money is ALMA, which brings a great diversity of music to the area at no or minimal cost to the public.
Johnson said the city spends a lot of money on economic development studies, consultants and associated costs, but these types of events bring people and cash into the community. He did not want to cut funding to the rodeo because of the benefits the rodeo has provided Alamosa in the last few years. He said he would support some reduction, however, because the rodeo has become more self sufficient over time. He said he would rather spend economic development money on these types of events because they “actually work.”
Lucero said the city’s sponsorship fund is a way of providing seed money to groups getting started, and he believed the council should not spend the entire budget now because there might be legitimate requests for sponsorship funds later on this year. He added the city needs to live within its budget.
He asked what the council would do if another deserving request came in, and the budget is already spent.
“I think my answer would be it wouldn’t be able to happen this year,” Mayor Rogers responded.
Griego said there might be a way to support an additional request if it was a good one.
Rogers said perhaps next year the council could set aside more money for this budget item.
Griego said each of the three groups requesting sponsorships is good for the community. He agreed now that the rodeo is more self sufficient it might not need as much support from the city. He recommended the funding amounts that were ultimately approved by the council.
Gillaspie agreed with Griego. He said the city had agreed to support the rodeo for three years, and this is the fourth year, so its funding could be trimmed back. He favored support of the barbecue competition as a new event for the city, as well as continued support for ALMA. He said the city could probably find $500 to make up the difference between the approved sponsorships and its budgeted amount.