Event funding draws response from GWBA

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Williamston Town Council recently turned down a funding request by the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) for entertainment for three Party in the Park events and the July 5 Freedom Celebration.

They also declined to increase funding for the Spring Water Festival.

Since then GWBA President Chris Trotter has been on a campaign to make council aware that there is a lot of support for the events.

Through an email campaign, GWBA members have been asked to provide letters of support to present to council members. The public is also being encouraged to show their support.

The request by the GWBA for $6500 for entertainment for three Party in the Park events and the July 4th event failed with a split 2-2 vote. Mayor Mack Durham and Councilman Rockey Burgess were in favor, while Councilmen David Harvell and Otis Scott were opposed. The possible tie breaker, Councilman Tony Hagood was absent due to sickness.

Prior to the vote, Burgess spoke in favor of the events stating, “They meet the purpose of our hospitality tax, getting folks to town that ordinarily would not come,” he said. “It is money well spent.”

Harvell and Scott both questioned why the events could not fund themselves.

Earlier in the meeting, a motion by Councilman Scott to increase funding for entertainment for the Spring Water Festival to $20,000 died after failing to receive a second.

The Springwater Committee requested the additional funding to bring a nationally known entertainer to the festival in August.

After a few moments of silence, Mayor Durham made a motion to fund the festival at $10,000. Councilman Scott seconded and the motion was approved 4-0.

Funding from the town’s hospitality tax is used to provide entertainment on Friday night and all day Saturday during the two day festival.

Other events/projects receiving hospitality tax funding have included: Cemetery Candle Lighting, Boo in the Park, July 4th, GWBA Easter Egg Hunt, Pig in the Park, Defenders Motorcycle/ParkFest, Veterans Day event, Memorial Day event, Homstead Festival, Carolina Community Center, Christmas Parade, Christmas pole decorations and others.

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