Fair U City announced on May 1 that the annual fair, planned for June 7-9, would be cancelled due to financial demands from the city.
At the center of the dispute are three items in the fair’s contract with the city. The city requested that fair organizers cover several items for a combined total of just over $27,000. The fair has operated annually since 2011.
“The excessive financial burden you have chosen to place on the non-profit foundation makes our staging of the fair fiscally unviable,” University City Community Foundation (UCCF) Interim President Linda Shaw said in a letter to City Manager Gregory Rose.
On May 9, Rose gave a presentation on the contract items. The first item stated that Fair U City must provide a refundable deposit of $5,459.00. The second item states that before any scholarships are given, Fair U. City must pay $5,220 for use of Hemen Park. The third item required is that before any scholarships are granted from fair proceeds, Fair U City must pay $16,614 for “municipal services” — the cost of time and effort by city staff.
In addition to the costs, Rose said fair representatives have not shown up at several meetings. Fair officials claim they were not notified about some of the meetings.
“The discussion session was one example. The Fair U City proposal was discussed at this meeting. Neither Linda Shaw nor I were advised of the meeting or invited to attend; we heard about it through social media. Ms. Shaw was out of town. I attended to hear the discussion,” said Robert Parker, treasurer of the UCCF.
Rose briefly addressed the situation at the May 13 council meeting, saying that while he was saddened by the cancelation of the fair, the central issue was about protecting taxpayers and their money.