by Alan McArthur
Platte City's aldermen voted Tuesday night to pursue the idea of creating a community festival other than he annual motorcycle rally next year.
The discussion came right before the budget was approved as amended,
“Well this is it,” said Stanton to Jung.
“I’ve thought about this a long time and I am not a festival hater, but I’d motion that we ax the rally language, and leave the money for a festival,” said Jung.
The mayor responded he feels that the city was sending a bad message to motorcycle riders.
“Why don’t you leave the rally alone? asked Brooks. “You’re sending a message to motorcycle riders. They ask me, ‘Why are you having motorcycles in your town when the newspapers say you don’t want them?”
“A community benefits from a festival when those in the community participate,” said Jung. “Only a small number of people own motorcycles here. I doubt I’ll change your mind, that this is not a personal attack on you. I’m just trying to put together an event for the community.”
“If this is not directed towards me, then where has everybody been while we were planning this?” asked Brooks. “Platte City doesn’t do anything in the form of entertainment. Who’s this rally really hurt? We expect this year to be bigger than the last.”
“If you don’t want to fund it and want something else, then let the committee not use a nickel of city money,” said Brooks. “But let us use the streets. It seems to be a budget problem, but it is a very small amount of money.”
“This isn’t an attack on you and I don’t know why you would think that,” said Jung.
“Maybe because it was my idea for the rally,” said Brooks. “We are supported by the Harley plant and they send people up here. Ask anyone on Main Street whether it helps them.”
Stanton suggested leaving the money in the budget and changing the wording.
“What would be wrong with leaving the money in the budget and asking the citizens in the survey what kind of festival they’d like,” said Stanton.
“I see the survey as our answer to this conundrum,” said Brown.
Clark questioned the idea of using the survey to determine the type of festival.
“So if the survey comes back that people want a clown festival, then you’ll go with it?” asked Clark.
Alderman Ron Stone, described that it was the motorcycle riders who are getting beat up.
“I think it’s the bikers who are getting beat up here, we need to stop that,” said Stone. “I think we’re sending the wrong message here.”
“What’s wrong with people who ride?” asked Brooks.
“Has anyone here said that we don’t like motorcyclists?” asked Jung.
“This serves on a very specific group, if tax money is going towards this then we need to open it up more,” said Sloan.
Clark suggested that more money should be added to the event rather than taken away from it.
“They started the rally with $5,000, and we are not in a position to throw money at things,” said Jung.
“The first year we managed with that amount,” said Brooks. “We’ve done really well. And we’ll do well this year, unless God rains and hails on us, and you can’t judge this festival by that. We’ve earned our right to do this and it wasn’t easy. I spend 50 to 60 hours a week as mayor and another 8 to 10 hours a week trying to beg for ads and sponsors.”
“The bottom line is the average motorcycle rider is 47 and he has his spouse on the back,” said Brooks. “It’s not like we’re attracting the dirt bike guy who can’t buy his own motorcycle.”
The board then voted to amend the budget to remove the language of “rally” from the festivals item. The festivals line item contains $15,000.
The only alderman to vote against the measure was Clark.
Another item discussed was the purchase of a decibel meter for the police department to measure noise ordinance violations.
“There is an ordinance on the books, but it is hard to prosecute because it is all up to the officer’s discretion,” said Keith Moody, city administrator. “This is not an issue that has a lot of attention, but it has the potential to grow.”
“Maybe we can buy it today and put it on Main Street on Saturday and give every guy with open pipes a $50 ticket. That’d pay for it pretty quick,” said Stanton.
“That’s very funny, Andy,” responded Brooks.
“That’s how people get the impression Platte City doesn’t like motorcycles,” said Clark.
“It’s just an option for paying for a piece of equipment,” said Stanton.
The board recommended to leave the item in place and maybe buy it later.