Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Everyone Loves a Parade

With only a month left til the Mummers Parade, City Council is showing its support for the city's "ethnic and cultural parades" . . . by, um, holding a public hearing.

The Council Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs plans to hold a public hearing next week on "the challenges faced by the City's ethnic and cultural parades, and what measures the City can take to ensure that these important traditions are preserved."

(In case you'd like to attend, the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday Dec. 8 at 10 am in Room 400 of City Hall.)

Why do parades need a show of support? It's all about money, of course.

In recent years, the city spent about $3 million annually to cover costs for parades' police overtime and post-parade cleanup. But Mayor Michael Nutter pulled the plug on that when the economy tanked.

Parade organizers are scrambling to replace the city's subsidy. Earlier this fall, the organizers of the Columbus Day Festival canceled their parade because they couldn't cover the new city costs.

The Inquirer editorialized then in support of the city's position: "Welcome to the new economic reality. For those who enjoy the parade revelry, this is a good time to show your loyalty and support."

Hear, hear. The city barely made it out of the last budget crisis. It can't subsidize large events without attention to costs. And if that means a smaller Mummers Parade, so be it.

UPDATE: City officials and Mummers representatives met on Friday Dec. 4 to hash out the parade's costs from the city. According to the Inquirer, there was a lot of shouting.

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