Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 21, 2013

Summer Motion funding cut

City votes to contribute $24,000 instead of the $30,000 provided for 25 years

ASHLAND — Ashland city leaders pulled their fiscal belt one notch tighter Thursday night, reducing funding to Summer Motion.

After a lengthy debate, Ashland City Commissioners ultimately approved by a vote of 4 to 1 to contribute $24,000 to the festival. Summer Motion had requested $30,000, the level of funding the city has provided for much of the event’s 25-year history, according to officials.

Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs cast her vote against funding the festival, citing the city’s ongoing budget woes and the move by officials last week to raise payroll and alcohol taxes.

Spriggs said she felt the city’s in-kind contribution of $39,000 was sufficient. “I don’t think it’s the city’s role to do this,” she said. “It’s not my job to raise taxes and give it away,” she added.

Ashland provides in-kind contributions from city staff, including police, fire, utilities and road crews. The five-day Summer Motion festival is planned and run by a committee of volunteers.

The annual festival relies on donations and fundraising to pay for its expenses, including booking large entertainment acts and the fireworks display. Attendance at Summer Motion concerts and events is free.

Commissioners Larry Brown and Marty Gute supported the 20 percent cut in funding to mirror the cut the city made in funding it specifically set aside for nonprofits and festivals. Brown also raised concern with the timing of the contribution, saying he thought the city was going to abstain until it had a better idea of how revenue projections were holding.

Commissioner Kevin Gunderson and Mayor Chuck Charles supported giving the festival its full requested amount, as per City Manager Steve Corbitt’s recommendation. Corbitt suggested the city fully fund the festival this year, and make a reduction next year, citing the fact that the festival is less than two weeks from commencing.

Charles, who served as Summer Motion president for many years, disputed Spriggs’ assertion that the city “was giving money away” to festivals and non-profits. “I see it as investments in some of the ones that do serve as economic drivers to our town,” said Charles. Ashland historically makes contributions to all three major festivals in town including Poage Landing Days and the Winter Wonderland of Lights, along with other non-profits like the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center and the Paramount Arts Center.

“This is our signature event,” said Gunderson, who ultimately seemed to broker the deal to provide $24,000 to the festival. “It is something if left up to the city, should survive, that is as essential as a city service,” he said.

A study some years ago estimated Summer Motion’s economic impact at well over $1 million, said festival president Cade Mahan following the tense meeting. “It is an investment into the city. Summer Motion is, for the most part, the single largest economic impactor to the city at one particular point in time,” he said. There is also a large “social impact” from having it, Mahan said. “As commissioner Gunderson said, it is our flagship festival. One of the things Ashland is known for is Summer Motion.”

Mahan, in his first year of steering the festival, said he was “extremely grateful” for the city’s continued monetary support. “We are ecstatic for any contribution from the city. We are extremely grateful for all the city does for us,” said Mahan.

“We rely on contributions from the city all the way down to the average citizen that gives us $100 or $200 to help take pride in a festival we give to the community in our backyard,” he said. “It is something we as a community and as citizens should take great pride in supporting to help secure its success for another 25 years.”

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420mongol1.JPG A ride to remember

    Riding 50 miles a day is no big deal to Amy Whelan.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418melodies.jpg Melodies & Masterpieces returns Friday

    Anyone strolling through downtown Ashland at lunchtime Friday will have a chance to enjoy the artistry of one of the area’s most-respected guitarists as Chris Kitchen kicks off the return of the Melodies & Masterpieces series on Judd Plaza.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418odell.jpg MSU professor appointed state geographer

    Dr. Gary O’Dell, a professor of physical geography at Morehead State University, was named state geographer in January.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill to benefit AK Steel

    During the 11th hour of the General Assembly, a bill extending important sustainable incentives for AK Steel’s Ashland Works was pushed through for approval Tuesday night.
    House Bill 483 was created to extend the plant's incentives provided by the Kentucky Industrial Revitalization Act in 2004.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pathways begins autism services

    Pathways has extended its community outreach in a big way by providing services for families facing autism.
    Lena Harmon, central director for the company's Kentucky Impact Youth Council, said these services can save families the trouble of being added to long queue lines in Cincinnati and Louisville.
    Harmon said she has heard some families testify having to wait up to 12 months for appointments in faraway cities.

    April 16, 2014

  • Russell academic new dean at OUS

    Nicole Pennington chose a two-year community college degree track in 1991 because she wanted to enter the nursing work force with as little delay as possible.

    April 16, 2014

  • 1936 Indian lasting wedding gift

    When it came time to present his future wife with a symbol of his undying devotion, Virgil Erskine gave her a 1936 Indian motorcycle instead of a diamond ring.
    “I’ve always called it my wedding present. It’s my diamond ring,” said Charlene Erskine, explaining she and her husband were married at Sturgis, S.D., in 1983, found the antique Indian Sport Scout in 1984 and had it restored and on the road in 1985.

    April 16, 2014

  • Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks

    Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
    The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.

    April 15, 2014

  • Shay receives 38 years for fatal shooting

    Casey R. Shay, 27, of Morehead, was sentenced Monday to 38 years in prison for the fatal shooting last year of Cassandra M. “Cassie” Owens, 21.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416homegarden.jpg Space not problem with home garden

    Growing your own dinner is not a concept lost on Kenny Imel.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone