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No Vendors at Oktoberfest? Council to Discuss Cost-Saving Scenarios

La Mesa Police Department offers event organizers several pricing options at annual beer fest, including no carnival and spreading the event over two weekends.

Below is a summary of what is due to occur at this week's Council meeting.

In an effort to lower overhead costs of the city's annual Oktoberfest, as well as increase safety and security of patrons, the city council on Tuesday will hear three different scenarios offered up by the Oktoberfest planning committee.

Aspects of the scenarios could mean big changes to the popular event, which sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Some of the changes include the elimination of carnival rides on La Mesa Boulevard west of Spring Street, and changing the event to run on two successive weekends.

Citing citizen concerns and rising costs, the committee – which includes representatives from the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, the La Mesa Village Merchants Association, the La Mesa Police Department, Heartland Fire Department, and city staff – has met four times in the last two months in an effort to adopt changes to the event, as it is currently held.

Three scenarios have been proposed:

Scenario 1
This event will be held on two successive weekends. Weekend 1 would be a beer garden only which will be held in the Allison Avenue Municipal parking lot. This event will be sponsored by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Weekend 2 would be a street fair that would be held on La Mesa Boulevard east of Spring Street. This event will be sponsored by the La Mesa Village Merchants' Association.

Outlined costs of Scenario 1 include:

Estimate Total - $13,000 (Weekend 1)
Police Department- $9,500
Fire Department- $2,000
Public Works - $1 ,200
Engineering - $300
Licensing - $0

Estimate Total-$ 25,200 (Weekend 2)
Police Department- $4,500
Fire Department- $9,000
Public Works- $10,000
Engineering- $1,500
Licensing - $200

Scenario 1 Total - $38,200

Scenario 2
This would be a combined event with the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the La Mesa Village Merchants' Association. This event would be held on one weekend and would consist of a single beer garden in the Allison Avenue Municipal parking lot and a street fair with booths on La Mesa Boulevard east of Spring Street.

The beer garden would be on Friday from 5-11:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11
a.m. - 11:30 p.m. and closed on Sunday. The street fair booths will be Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Outlined costs of Scenario 2 include:

Estimate Total- $45,700
Police Department- $25,000
Fire Department- $9,000
Public Works- $10,000
Engineering- $1,500
Licensing - $200

Scenario 3
In this scenario, there will be a main beer garden within the Allison Avenue Municipal lot, and a street fair on La Mesa Boulevard west of Fourth Street to Acacia Avenue. A small beer garden will be located on Nebo Drive south of La Mesa Boulevard. There will be no carnival rides. This event is similar to previous Oktoberfest events.

The beer gardens would be on Friday from 5-11:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11
a.m. - 11:30 p.m. and closed on Sunday. The street fair booths will be Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Outlined costs of Scenario 3 include:

Estimate Total- $77,000
Police Department- $53,000
Fire Department- $10,500
Public Works- $11,700
Engineering- $1,500
Licensing - $300

The council is not expected to make a decision at Tuesday's meeting, only to hear updates on the committees proposals and ask questions to various representatives.

In other agenda items:

The council will hear a presentation on the La Mesa Village Parking Garage Feasability Study, and will consider the adoption of an in-lieu parking fee for the commercial downtown Village.

As a way to ensure adaquate parking for long-term business growth, the council will also hear discussion about changing the zoning ordinance to establish an in-lieu parking fee, which would essentially help fund future development and construction of public parking – in this case a parking garage.

If the council decided to adopt the zoning ordinance, there would still be many factors that would need to be determined before a parking fee is levied, including, cost of the fee, amount of spaces that can be satisfied with the in-lieu fee, a mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of parking impact, environmental impact, and more.

The council will also nominate and appoint members to various city boards and commissions, including: two positions on the Aging and Veterans Commission, three positions on the Environmental Sustainability Commission, one position on the Personnel Appeals Board, and one position on the Planning Commission.

Molly Nowak February 12, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Why are you discussing cost savings for the City? I used to be a vendor at the Oktoberfest. Used to be. It has gotten too expensive to rent a booth. At approx. 500$ for a basic space there is no way the city isn't making money on this event. How come we don't see a breakdown on the amount of money the city is making? Not to mention the local merchants? I always thought this was an event about the people of the community, and bringing more people in. It's turned into another way for The City of La Mesa to line their pockets. Keep it up and El Cajon is going to end up with all those customers...
CosasChaparitas February 12, 2013 at 05:34 PM
More music, less junk! Love it!
Kevin George February 12, 2013 at 08:59 PM
La Mesas' Oktoberfest is a classic example of the American principle of finding something that works, then overdoing it until it doesn't anymore. Perfected out of existence. "To thine own self be true"
Jimmy Sanders February 12, 2013 at 10:25 PM
I seem to remember when it was go have a beer to two with a brat, listen to some music, wander up and down to look at local crafts in the street and shops, bump into old friends, get thirsty and go have another beer or two, then go home. I have not gone in the past few years because I'm not interested in aluminum siding or truck bed liners or parking 10 blocks away or driving to another trolly stop to take a trolly to the event. Just not worth it for me.

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