Rodeo Parade must compete for city dollars - Tucson News Now

Rodeo Parade must compete for city dollars

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Tucson Rodeo Parade will be required to compete with other events and festivals for city cash.

Four years ago the city required all outside agencies, including festivals, to compete for a shrinking pile of money, but the Rodeo Parade and the Fort Lowell Shootout were exempted.

The Tucson City Council will discuss whether that should change this week.

"We're not going to pick winners and losers," says Ward VI council member Steve Kozachik. "Everyone will be on a level playing field."

But it points to a deeper issue: the declining revenues for festivals and civic events is causing a hardship and may force those events to look elsewhere.

A person close to the field says some events have already moved and others may be considering a move because they don't get the support they need.

But also, they will be competing with workforce development agencies who are seeking more aid, too.

The city has $584,000 for both; $134,000 will go to cultural events, the rest to job training.

Some believe that's not fair.

"The city, for such a small amount of money is missing a great opportunity," says Mia Hanson, of FEATsAZ, which advocates for festivals. "If they can't be more supportive of the festival industry, those events will stop happening in the city."

She says "Tucson can remain a premier festival city" but it needs to invest.

At its bi-weekly study session, the council will decide whether the money is divided appropriately between job creation and festival survival.

"We've broken it out into separate pools and the city has chosen to give the lions share to workforce development," says Kozachik. "I would prefer to toss some money to civic events to generate tax dollars to the general fund."

Tax dollars the city could use.

"The reality is, we don't have the dollars to fund it right now, to fund outside events," he says.

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