Friends, and lovers of Athens, GA,
Organizers of Athens events Wild Rumpus, Twilight Criterium, Athfest, Pride Fest, MLK Day Parade, Latinx Fest, and more need your help.
Date: Tuesday, June 6th
Location: City Hall, 301 College Avenue, Athens //
PUBLIC INPUT on Athens 2024 budget talks with Mayor Kelly Girtz and the Commission, including FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EVENTS.
Friends we are asking you to be at this meeting to speak up in support of Athens events!! Can you be there?
We are asking for the Special Events budget to be increased to $250,000., and for the per-event limit to be raised to $50,000.
**Link for submitting a comment online below**
**Help us collect data and testimonials with a 3-minute survey! Click here: https://forms.gle/foDstY2EiiNyJd5P8 (confidential)**
Here’s the scoop:
Collectively, the events mentioned here formed a Special Events Panel in 2023 to ask collectively for more funding support from Athens-Clarke County. The Mayor and Commission have heard our proposal to increase the city’s annual event budget from $60,000 (an amount set back in the 1990’s) to an amount reflective of Athens’ massive growth, the expansion of our events, and increased costs due to inflation- $250,000.
How does it work?
The funding comes through a grant program called Community Enhancement Program (CEP), through Athens Downtown Development Authority (ADDA). CEP funding has been a major driving factor in the success of events held downtown, and is greatly appreciated by Athens events. Increasing the money available for CEP funding – pulled from the $.07 “Hotel/Motel” tax on hotel and short-term rental visits to Athens – will ensure that well-established events receive the well-deserved support they need to cover costs, and also that new, startup, and smaller events receive the investment they need to grow, expanding on their impact as well.
Why is this important?
Athens events are a major generator of tourism and dollars to our town. They also create the vibe and culture by which Athens identifies itself, and by which it MARKETS itself through our tourism dept- Visit Athens, GA. The economic impact of our events to ACC is millions and millions of dollars. A modest upgrade to $250,000 annually for Athens events will get our city up to speed in the 2020’s, and most of the money INVESTED in events will be SPENT by our events RIGHT BACK into the community… jobs for crew, gigs for musicians, opportunities for our arts scene, and pay to Athens-Clarke County itself for required services.
Why is this happening?
Thanks to our efforts, Mayor Girtz has proposed an increase in events budget in his FY24 proposed budget.. from $60k to $120k.
This is hugely appreciated, but more is needed now to create sustainability of our cultural celebrations in the decade to come. The Hotel-Motel tax has created a significant revenue surplus, and needs to be allocated somewhere appropriate: Events. As the people of Athens, we want to let the Mayor and Commissioners know that more is needed, and show that the town supports the vitality and health of our special events, with all the important diversity and creativity as well as economic impact they create.
***Public input (You!) will be considered during budget talks and negotiations between the Mayor and Commission meeting on Tuesday, 5/16 (6pm at City Hall) and also at the June 6th meeting if needed (see below)… Come and let your voice be heard!
Comments can also be made online if in-person is not possible. Click: https://www.accgov.com/FormCenter/Clerk-of-Commission-9/Mayor-Commission-Agenda-Item-Comment-For-55
For Agenda Item Number, Letter, or Name* use “Funding for Athens Special Events”, and add your comment. EASY.
This is a make-it-or-break-it moment for events in Athens… Thank you so much for your support! And HUGE thanks to Mayor Girtz and all our fabulous Commissioners for looking at this!!
FY24 Mayor’s Recommended Budget Submitted to the Commission for Review
ACC Govt. Timeline:
The upcoming budget-related meeting will take place:
Tuesday, June 6 – 6:00 PM – Public comments in-person regarding Fiscal Year 2024 budget items, including funding for Special Events!! (followed by the Mayor & Commission Regular Voting Meeting) at 301 College Avenue, City Hall Commission Chamber to adopt the FY24 Budget and 2023 millage rate