Film companies should communicate better with the community when they are planning their productions, an advisory panel recommends.
The Plaza Task Force, a mayor-appointed committee, suggested that the city’s permitting procedure should require that film companies provide formal notification letters to local businesses affected. Additionally, the location manager should be required to submit proof in the form of business owners’ signatures that they were notified of the impacts, the panel advises.
The task force, which presented its recommendations to the City Council recently, advised the city to require location managers to provide prior notice to merchants of projected schedules.
“However, because of the nature of the business, film schedules and locations change. Consequently, streets are closed and businesses are affected unexpectedly,” the task force’s report states. “This is another source of complaints from businesses.”
The city already has an ordinance and a permitting process for film productions — procedures that the task force called effective in that affected city departments are included in the planning for films.
The permit fee is $250, and each of the departments charges fees related to the direct costs of their services, the report states.
Elmer Martinez, the city’s community development director, said film companies negotiate individually with business owners.
“Sometimes there is a real or perceived disparity about what businesses are getting,” he said. “Some may be more astute in negotiating.”
On another subject, the Plaza Task Force recommended that more residents volunteer for the Fiesta Council, which puts on the annual Fiestas de Las Vegas.
“Overall, there needs to be more understanding from the community as to what it takes to put on the Fiestas,” the panel states in its report.
The panel also suggests the city build public restrooms and improve the gazebo, which they said would benefit Fiestas and other Plaza events.
The task force said Fiestas needs more diversity, including more activities on Bridge Street, with a particular focus on local arts and crafts, with lower rental fees.
It also recommended bringing back a carnival to the Fiestas.
Plaza task force’s
• The Fiesta Council needs more community members to volunteer and help the organization. Overall, there needs to be more understanding from the community on what it takes to put on the Fiestas. A public campaign and volunteer recruitment initiative need to be undertaken.
• Street closures, setup times and ambiguity of event dates and activities have a significant impact on local merchants, particularly on Plaza and Bridge streets. There is a better need for communication between the Fiesta Council and merchants with regard to dates and booth setup times and locations. The council needs to schedule the Fiestas at least three years in advance.
• Plaza Park needs restrooms.
• The Fiesta Council should explore ways of setting up vendors and providing access to Fiestas-goers. However, options for setup are limited because of electrical services.
• The gazebo needs improvements. Closer police supervision is sought. The police station is just across the street.
• Bring back a carnival to the Fiestas.
• The New Mexico Film Office and the city should provide a workshop for local merchants and residents to help them understand the filmmaking process, the overall impact on the city’s and state’s economy and idea on how to negotiate contracts with film companies.
• Film companies need to have better communication with the community. The permitting process should require that film companies provide formal notification letters to businesses. Location managers should be required to submit proof with their permit applications in the form of signatures by business owners.
Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally
• The rally generates noise by its very nature. An increased police presence would help alleviate these problems to a degree.
• There needs to be more space for the rally. In the past two years, at least 20 vendors had to be turned away because of space availability.