Following a request made two weeks ago by the steering committee heading the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) convention next year in Newton, the city council agreed to provide public safety, security fire and traffic control to the event organizers, with the expectation of reimbursement of expenses.
At the December 6 city council meeting, Tyler Clement, director of operations for Iowa Speedway and a member of the PGI steering committee, estimated that up to $ 47,000 could be needed from the city of Newton. to pay for the aforementioned services during the Three Night Public Convention at Iowa Speedway.
However, the estimate proposed at the December 20 board meeting has been significantly reduced. According to city documents, the city agreed to pay approximately $ 20,059. The PGI Steering Committee agreed to reimburse the Town of Newton for these costs before the proceeds are distributed to local charities.
Council members Randy Ervin and Mark Hallam declined to vote on the matter. Ervin has been instrumental in organizing the convention from the start and is also a member of the committee. Hallam is also a member of the steering committee. To avoid a conflict of interest, the two did not vote.
Either way, the motion was carried 4-0. Council member Evelyn George initially worried about the cost. But she was happy to see that the proposal recommended to the board was about half of what had originally been requested at the last meeting. George asked Ervin about the likelihood that the town would be paid off.
” What is your feeling ? Do we have a 50-50 chance that the city will be reimbursed? That you will have enough money (or) the proceeds of the event to exceed the costs that will be covered? Georges asked.
Ervin said, “I think our goal at the start of all of our conversations is to just assume that we don’t charge the city anything. So it’s our goal is to pay everything. We are in the process of this procedure. We want to make sure that the reason we chose these items is that they are a city expense. “
Rather than approaching the chief of police and asking him to slip the event into his officers’ normal coverage, Ervin said it was best for the committee to pay for the services. The remaining proceeds will go to local community charities, such as the RAGBRAI committee which distributed $ 35,000 in 2018.
“Our first commitment is to pay something like that back to the city,” Ervin said.
The PGI 2022 Convention will be held in Newton from July 31 to August 7.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or [email protected]