HUSA plans for events, goes through some changes

The Historic Uptown Susanville Association is going through changes, but the organization still exists, intact. And yes, there will still be a Safe and Sane Halloween, Magical Country Christmas and all of the events it hosts year after year.

Since the Susanville City Council decided to not renew the organization’s uptown business assessments this year, HUSA has now gone under the purview of the council itself. Its budget, however, was left to future discussions.

HUSA president Melanie Westbrook provided the city’s staff with a detailed projection of its operational costs and needs for the 2019-2020 fiscal year at the council’s Aug. 21 meeting.

Westbrook shared HUSA’s projections were $14,984 and on the submitted and approved budget, it shows the breakdown.

For the Safe and Sane Halloween event, the cost for entertainment is projected at $500; sanitation cost $250; posters are $50 and materials for construction are projected at $300. The total for the event is budgeted at $1,100.

The farmers market events total $1,400 for the market’s manager, $1,000 for sanitation and $150 for a sponsor vendor breakfast. The total for the events total $2,550.

The Magical Country Christmas costs $5,000 for fireworks, $50 for the ABC permit, $25 for the city permit and $250 for sanitation. It is the most expensive of the events at $5,325.

The organization’s Wine Walk is estimated to cost $2,900, with 12 ABC permits costing $50 each, 12 city permits at $25 each, wine glasses at $1,000 and posters costing $100. The total for the event is closer to the total cost of the farmers market season at $2,900.

For the Main Cruise, the Chamber dues cost $100 and the sponsorship costs $250.

The organization also has miscellaneous business expenses, such as advertising costs at $200; general liability insurance at $857; directors insurance at $1,596; postage at $50, the website costs $50, its corporation filing fees cost $200 and the rent for a mailbox costs the organization $106 per year.

Westbrook also shared that Pancera Plaza bricks were finished the weekend before the Aug 21, meeting.

HUSA director and Lassen County Supervisor, David Teeter was also present at the meeting and said about the plaza fund, “Pancera Plaza is almost finished. The bricks funded the beginning of it, but of course it was the city that was able to finish … the remodel of it, but what we have left are six flower baskets, and then the Dad’s Popcorn mural.”

Teeter explained the complications of the mural’s recent history, where a former property owner potentially pocketed money given from the county for the purpose of repairing the mural, however, they did offer some money to fix it. At the time, there was no easement on the mural to declare jurisdiction and the mural’s condition continued to worsen.

“The initial estimate I had from a local was $2,000, but then when the (Lassen County) Arts Council started punching at it,” said Teeter, “they gave me a bigger number,” which was closer to $10,000.

City administrator Mike Wilson mentioned that the fund still had $19,013.42 available for use on the Pancera Plaza.

Councilmember Brian Wilson brought up the subject of HUSA’s event expenses. Wilson, Westbrook and Teeter all joined into the discussions. Teeter explained that the events were promotions rather than fundraisers.

When HUSA collected business assessments, the costs of the organization’s multiple events were covered by those assessments — essentially making them revenue-neutral and focused on bringing energy to the Uptown area’s businesses.

With the council denying this year’s assessments, the organization’s efforts are now overseen by the council, and funded by it too.

Mayor pro tem Joseph Franco inquired upon the council’s former direction for HUSA to fundraise. However, he also asked how much HUSA collected from the assessments, to which Westbrook answered, “The city has collected 12,000 to 14,000 dollars,” which is close to what HUSA’s annual budget would be this year.

Councilmember Mendy Schuster explained she was still against the Wine Walk.

“It doesn’t feel right to me — because of what I saw on one of them when they were drinking and then got in their car and took off,” said Schuster.

Police Chief Kevin Jones responded to Schuster’s comment and said, “They cannot walk Main Street with alcohol. The alcohol cannot leave the businesses,” and clarified, “The rules are … each business that serves alcohol has to have a notice that (says) they cannot leave the premises with alcohol.”

Westbrook emphasized that HUSA was not trying to make people drink in the street, and that the organization was not trying to do something like a pub-crawl, of which there are many already in Reno.