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Are Warren concerts cutting into grass funds?



Published: Thu, August 23, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

The amphitheater concert ‘didn’t break the bank,’ a city official says.

By MAYSOON ABDELRASUL

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN — A city councilman says some residents are concerned that Warren is spending money to provide entertainment at the expense of neglecting other services.

Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, said he was unaware the city paid for a portion of the Gary Puckett and the Union Gap concert Aug. 3 at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.

“We need to be aware of the cost,” he said.

The concert’s cost was $25,000. The city paid about $13,000, and the rest came from community sponsors.

Novak said he thought the entertainment happening at the amphitheater was self-supported.

The tribute bands that are scheduled to come to the amphitheater the next few weekends are sponsored entirely by Summit Entertainment Consultants of Cuyahoga Falls.

Novak said he wasn’t aware the city paid for a portion of the Gary Puckett concert until he had about 25 residents call him and ask him about how much the city was paying.

A concern of many of the residents, Novak said, is that the city is not cutting high grass in vacant lots.

Assuring residents

But Service-Safety Director Doug Franklin said the city is using private vendors and city workers to cut the grass, along with people sentenced by the courts.

There is no correlation between the money that was spent on the concert and the grass-cutting funds, said Franklin.

Franklin said he wants to assure residents the city is not neglecting any other services. “We are very committed to all the services we provide,” he said.

By providing entertainment, the city attracts more people — and there is enough money to provide entertainment, Franklin said. “We didn’t break the bank on that concert,” he added.

He said city council appropriated $25,000 for the grass cutting fund and some of that money was used to buy equipment.

The city cannot appropriate more than $25,000 without advertising the job for bids, and it is hard to to do that because there are so many lawns with so many different sizes, Franklin added.

“We are looking at what other cities are doing because we want to have a bid package in place for grass-cutting funds,” he said


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