City official pushes Fiesta accountability

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By David Giuliani

City Manager Timothy Dodge is asking for more accountability from the Fiesta Council — using the same standards applied to other nonprofit groups that receive city money.

During a Fiesta Council meeting on Tuesday, Dodge said the city should have a seat on the council.

He also asked that quarterly reports be submitted to the city — something that hasn’t happened in the past.

“The city is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, funder. If we’re going to use public resources, we need accountability,” he said.

Dodge noted that the Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally, which started a few years ago, is already nearly self-sustaining.

“They don’t depend on the city for many additional resources,” he said.

Dodge added that he believed the Fiesta Council had done “an excellent job.”

“I appreciate all of the volunteer work you’ve done. I hope we’re not being a hindrance to your organization,” he said.

Cipriano Aguilar, a longtime council member, said he believed that the city of Santa Fe gives its fiesta a lot of money.

But Dodge said he wasn’t sure because he wasn’t getting financial reports from the local event, which takes place around the Fourth of July every year.

Traditionally, the city gives Fiestas de Las Vegas money. Last year, the city allocated $12,000. But this year, the Fiesta Council didn’t apply for city funds, though it’s not clear why.

Indirectly, the city spends around $100,000 each year for Fiestas de Las Vegas. In 2007, the city reported that it had forked out $114,000 on fiesta expenses such as public works, solid waste, firefighting and police.

On Wednesday, Yvette Arellanes, the Fiesta Council’s treasurer, said her group had no problem providing financial information to the City Council. She said such information is already given to Fiesta Council members.

Fiesta President Mathew Martinez said he failed to submit a request for the city money. He said that was because he and others on the council were distracted by the back-biting and drama of the six members he ousted recently.

He also said the problem led to the council’s submitting a late permit to the city for the annual event. Dodge mentioned that late permit during his presentation.