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County reacts to proposal to hire event coordinator

Article Date: 
15 March, 2013 (All day)

Morgan County Council members are praising Morgan City’s efforts to hire an event coordinator for the annual 4th of July celebration at Riverside Park, but is stopping short of promising money toward the coordinator’s paycheck.
“I have a difficult time giving someone funds for a one-day event, which is huge, when other county boards work all year on hundreds of things and they don’t get a cent,” Councilman Ned Mecham said.
“Are we prepared to do the same for the fair board or the parks board?” Councilman Robert Kilmer asked.
“Are you setting a precedence when you pay people?” Councilman Logan Wilde asked.
“I have reservations,” Councilman Austin Turner said.  “I am not really excited about paying someone to do this.”
Wilde said time is of the essence.
“It’s getting too close to the Fourth of July,” he said.  
In the past, the county recreation board—made up of representatives of the city, county and school—has overseen the celebration with a subcommittee.  Kilmer said the rec board is “trying to get out of” running the Fourth of July.  Wilde said the obvious caretaker of the event should be Morgan City.
“It’s in their city, in their park, so it seems to be their responsibility,” Wilde said.  “It has fallen on their lap.”
Segregating duties could lead to competition, Council Chairwoman Tina Kelley said.
“It starts to create a competition in the community,” she said.  “What do we support more? I don’t want to see this be the nature of the conversation.”
Because foot traffic to the event benefits the county as a whole, council members said they are willing to continue donating to the Fourth of July celebration to the levels it has in the past.  Kilmer said the county’s donations should go toward operational costs and fireworks for the event.
“I think we all benefit from the Fourth of July celebration,” Kilmer said.  “We aggressively support (the city) moving forward on the Fourth of July celebration.  We are willing to entertain what they bring to us.  We are willing to participate, but there is debate at what level.”
Because the city has not provided particular money amounts in their event coordinator proposition, the county council said they cannot make a decision on contributing to the salary yet. “We want more particulars,” Kelley said.