•by Alan McArthur
Half of Platte City's aldermen voted to nix the End of the Trail motorcycle rally for 2008 at Tuesday’s meeting during discussion about next year's budget.
During budget talks, Aaron Jung, alderman, noticed a line item of $15,000 to be spent on the motorcycle rally, which has been held in September the past few years.
Keith Moody, city administrator, also pointed out that the $15,000 proposed cost does not include the overtime pay for the police department and city workers related to the rally, which come from other funds.
“Do you still claim the rally makes money, mayor?” asked Andy Stanton, alderman.
“The city has never done any sort of study to look at the total money collected,” said Dave Brooks, mayor. “But I remember a couple of years ago talking to a woman who owned a restaurant down at the end of Main Street and she told me she had already made $10,000 by 10 p.m. The only people on Main Street that might not benefit from this rally are Andy and Marsha (referring to Andy Stanton and Marsha Clark, Main Street business owners who are also aldermen).
Another alderman pointed out that because of the rally Main Street is closed to traffic for several days.
“My problem with the rally is you shut down Main Street for several days,” said Kenneth Brown, alderman. “People can’t get to the businesses on those days.”
“They used to close some of the connecting streets, but we talked to them and now they don’t close them anymore,” said Marsha Clark, alderman.
Alderman Jung asked Moody about how the taxes from sales at the event are collected.
“If a traveling barbecue group from Texas comes up here, they are responsible for paying taxes, right?” asked Jung.
“They are responsible to collect the (sales) taxes,” said Moody. “It is not uncommon for municipalities to spend more money than they make on events. This is a public policy decision for you as the board to decide on.”
Another question for the mayor was about the number of Platte City citizens who attend the rally.
“I can’t tell you an exact number, but I walk around during the event and see lots and lots of people from Platte City, and they all tell me how great the rally is,” said Brooks.
Stanton insisted he did not see the benefit to the city to keep the rally.
“I still find it hard to believe that this event pays for itself, I don’t believe you collect $21,000,” said Stanton to the mayor. “You being here in 2008 is questionable. If something changes in April, maybe the next mayor won’t want to mess with this event.”
Moody asked the board if they wanted to change something about the line item.
“Yes, I’d like to see this off the budget,” said Stanton.
The board then voted with Stanton, Brown, and Jung voting for the removal and Sloan, Clark, and Stone voting to keep the item. Since the vote was a tie, the mayor has the tie breaking vote. Brooks voted to keep the rally as is on the budget.
“I’d just make one request, include more events for small children at the rally,” said Jung.
The board then moved on to discuss other issues with the budget. In order to help cover costs of operating the sewer system, the city is proposing a rate increase for sewer services.
According to the budget, for residents living within Platte City there will be an increase of $0.20 per 1,000 gallons of waste from each house.
“On average, a family in Platte City creates about 6,000 gallons of waste each month,” said Moody.
This means the average bill increase per house will be about $1.20 per month and $14.40 each year.
For users outside of the city limits of Platte City the cost increase is $0.24 for the first 1,000 gallons of waste and an increase of $0.25 for each additional 1,000 gallons per month. This would result in an increase of $1.49 per month and $17.88 per year, for the average family.
The sewer rate for Tracy will also increase by $0.18 to the user fee per 1,000 gallons. This will bring the rate for sewer fees to $1.98 per 1,000 gallons for Tracy.
Moody stated he sent a letter to the city of Tracy’s attorney concerning the increase and is waiting to hear back to get the price approved.
The board also approved a bid award for the repainting of the inside of the orange water tower. The total award amount is $43,870 to Utility Service Company. For the project $75,000 was budgeted to cover the work.
At the next meeting the board will decide whether to approve a decrease in the tax levy rate for Platte City. The current levy rate is $1.06 per $100 of assessed property value, the new proposed rate is $1.0095.
“I hope the board can understand the professionalism of the staff and Keith,” said Brooks. “If we didn’t have a staff like this we’d be here until 3 or 4 in the morning talking about the budget.”