The Ceres City Council has signaled their support to take some of the tax revenues from the hotel occupancy tax to fund three favorite festivals.
The city offers three events free of charge through the years. They are the Trunk or Treat event that drew 28 businesses and organizations; the Ceres Christmas Festival and opening of Christmas Tree Lane; and the Ceres Concerts in the Park that starts the first Tuesday in June and ends in July.
The city has funding for the Halloween and Christmas events at $5,000 apiece and the concerts has been allocated $4,000 through the Community & Event Activities Program funds.
“With these increased expenses and everything it’s becoming challenging to meet the demand of the community and to offer them free to the community,” said Recreation Manager Matthew Lohr. “These are great events that engage our community and we have a lot of participation of kids and adults at our events.”
He asked for direction in funding as the city begins crafting a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Councilman Bret Durossette said all three are important, in particular the Christmas festival which draws many from outside Ceres. He suggested using some of the funds from the Transient & Occupancy Tax (TOT). Councilman Mike Kline agreed.
Vice Mayor Linda Ryno expressed a desire to see a return of a Christmas event in downtown Ceres to help create excitement about the shopping district as the transformation continues. She remembers the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area Board (CDRAB) setting up a Christmas tree, bringing in Santa and having refreshments. She also suggested adding white twinkling lights to the trees in downtown.
“I think that’s what the downtown businesses would like to see is – people coming to the downtown to see what is available,” said Ryno.
Her idea was applauded by Councilman Channce Condit.