After hearing from organizers of the Indoor Rodeo and their offer to cover half the costs of installing and removing dirt from the arena, city council resolved Tuesday it is willing to cover up to half of that cost for the 2013 rodeo taking place April 19-21.
Originally council said no to covering the costs, after receiving a report from staff that showed the cost is around $10,000.
The cost involves the use of city trucks and fuel to haul the dirt in on Tuesday morning, and haul it away afterwards the following Monday.
Acting chief administrative officer Geoff Goodall said in the beginning unionized workers volunteered their time to haul the dirt into the rodeo.
The city provided the equipment and gasoline to haul it in. The workers received tickets to the rodeo and volunteer dinner.
“At the time there was a contractor who took the dirt out so the city had no involvement with that and then over time we started removing the dirt and the city was paying 100 per cent of the bill to take the dirt out,” Goodall explained.
Kelly Walls from the Williams Indoor Rodeo Association told council at its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday the association is willing to pay whatever is needed, but is asking the city to help because they don’t have enough to cover the entire costs.
“We have contacted trucking companies that have dump trucks simply to no avail because most of them don’t start insuring themselves until May,” Walls said. “We have one person who is willing as long as his trucks aren’t working somewhere else to help us out so we’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.”
Walls questioned why the city has to pay overtime because the rodeo has the whole day Monday to take down, but Goodall said the city cannot dedicate all the staff to do the job on the Monday.
“We have to remove the dirt and then it takes quite a while to clean the arena up.”
Coun. Laurie Walters described 2013 as a transition year for the rodeo and the city.
“There hasn’t been a lot of notice given to this group to plan and prepare,” she said, adding she would feel more comfortable helping out with the transition and then knowingly give the association a time frame for next year.
She wouldn’t want the city’s unwillingness to help make or break the rodeo.
“It’s been in our community for so long and it brings value to our community. I think we have an obligation to help out and work through this transition, with the understanding that things are changing.”
Council has to practice austerity and is making some tough budget decisions, she added.
Wall said when she talked with other businesses about the cost it was in the ball park of $9,500, but unfortunately they don’t do that type of work until May.