As Mosaic concert grows, so do costs
Though an increase in fairgrounds' usage fees is a burden for one local agency, county commissioners agreed that move is only fair as the agency's largest annual fundraiser grows in size and reach.
By SHAJIA AHMAD email@example.com Staff from Mosaic, a local agency that assists individuals with development disabilities, approached the County Commission during its Monday public meeting about what it believed were unreasonable increases in fees for use of the Finney County Exhibition Building as the agency heads into the third year for its annual summer rock concert in 2010. (Telegram File Photo Concert goers enjoy the music at the REO concert last August.)The event was a fundraiser for Mosaic.Debbie Reynolds, Mosaic's executive director, said fees for the use of the facility for its annual VIP concert, a private and ticketed party with live music held prior to the larger concert in the grandstands, has increased from $500 in 2008 to $4,000 in 2010. She said she did not understand the reasons for the increase. Earlier this summer, the REO Speedwagon concert in August generated about $60,000 for the agency that assists individuals with developmental disabilities, minus its production costs, Reynolds said, and increasing fees places the agency at a disadvantage. "Every dollar we raise stays in Finney County and goes to helping people in our community," Reynolds said. "When we have to raise so many dollars just to make $60,000, well, we're kind of leery of how things will turn out next year." Fairgrounds Director Angie Clark, who was present Monday, said the total fees for the use of the building have increased each year based on the changing use of the facilities, including the addition of live music, as outlined by the facility's policies. The fees themselves have not changed, Clark said, and several of the county commissioners expressed their agreement that the execution of the policy has been fair. "As your event grows and evolves, our expenses grow as well," Commissioner Larry Jones said. For the 2010 concert -- a band has yet to be announced -- Mosaic will need to pay $6,420 for use of the fairgrounds for all its events, as opposed to the agency's $2,852 in fees for use of the county's facilities in 2008, during the Styx concert and related programs at the fairgrounds. In 2008, the agency used the exhibition building, grandstand arena, and two rooms at the fairgrounds for the annual program. Costs have increased because next year the agency also plans to use a stage, bleachers, trash dumps, event workers and other facilities. Reynolds said her only interest in opening discussion about the fees for use of the facilities was to reduce the agency's costs, and assured the County Commission during its public meeting that she and other staff had no plans to relocate, quashing rumors both parties said they had heard from outside sources that the concert might be moved to Dodge City.