November 25, 2014

Wayne City Landing Days Audit Shows Nearly $50,000 Loss

   Controversy is brewing in Sugar Creek over the expense of the city’s Wayne City Landing Days celebration in August.

   According to an audit provided by the city, proceeds from the event amounted to $11,226.60, falling more than $47,000 short of covering the $59,000 it cost city taxpayers to put on the event.  All the same, the city has allocated another $50,000 in next year’s budget for another Wayne City Landing Days event to be held in  2015.

   Community activist Bill Haman complains of several issues surrounding the planning and expenditures involved with this year’s festival.  In a mass email to Sugar Creek residents and business owners, Haman raised issues ranging from the timing of the event to the cost bringing entertainment in from out of town rather than showcasing our local talent.

  In an email, he posed a number of questions:

   "Why did we not obtain a beer and soft drink sponsor? Those sponsors should normally cover entertainment expenses.

   "The city hall estimate of 5,000 attendees was excessive. No more than 3,000 people attended. Assuming 1,000 attendees per day the math is $50,000 divided by 3,000 total attendees equals $16 per person.  That is 16 taxpayer dollars wasted for each person that came to the festival.

   "Why was the entertainment in a location that was hidden from most attendees by the carnival trucks?  The entertainment should be the focal point of the entire event, not a stepchild.  Why did we spend so much money on acts?  There are numerous qualified bands here in KC that would have played the shows for much less money and had a larger following than the booked bands.   

   "Why was a band from Springfield booked instead of a local band?  The booking agent, the bands and the sound crew are the only ones involved that came out with plenty of money.

   "Why did we spend so much for a stage when modular stages can be rented for a third of what we paid?  $3,293 rental and towing for four bands is $823 per band.   Why did we pay for a hotel and meals for the sound crew?  I have been involved with many festival productions and have never paid for these items.  If the sound crew was from out of town why was a local vendor not hired?   $2,750 for four bands is $687 per band.  If you add in the meals and lodging for the crew that would be $3,367 for four bands or $841 per band.

   "The total for entertainment items listed is $12,100.  To put that in layman’s terms, someone cut a fat hog on the taxpayers of Sugar Creek.

   "In summary, it is time for Sugar Creek to move away from the festival business and understand that this event was not successful.  The mayor was presented with a flawed blueprint for a festival and blindly moved forward with a festival that was doomed to fail. Even after it became clear that the festival would not be successful the mayor could not admit that the event was failing.  He cast the deciding vote in a council meeting several months prior to the event that would have killed the event and saved the taxpayers $50,000.  The vote was not in the best interest of the citizens and was clearly made out of his self-interest. Aldermen Doyle and Kenney also cast votes to continue the event. Aldermen Sagehorn and Ray voted to stop funding for the festival. No more of Sugar Creek’s treasure should be used to support another Wayne City Event."

   Mr. Haman intended to ask these questions at the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen Study Session, but Mayor Mallinson would not allow comments from the floor about the issue.

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