Only On 7: Fremont residents unaware of who pays for 4th of July parade

The city of Fremont will put on its very popular Fourth of July parade, but most people are unaware of who funds the parade.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
On Friday, the city of Fremont will put on its very popular Fourth of July parade with thousands of residents enjoying the floats and festivities. However, most residents are unaware of who funds the parade and that's where the controversy begins.

A lot of Bay Area cities pay for their own Fourth of July parade, celebration, and festivities. But the city of Fremont has found a way to avoid using taxpayer money and some say that's not very patriotic.

Most people in Fremont think the city pays for the Fourth of July parade.

"I've always assumed the city paid for the parades and anything yeah... why wouldn't they?" Fremont resident Renee Thomas said.

The last time the city gave parade organizers a grant was in 2007. Since then it's all come from private monies.

"We'll go out for corporate, for individuals, however we can, in order to raise the funds," Former Fremont City Councilmember Steve Cho.

The parade costs around $55,000 - $60,000 and ironically, about 25 percent of that amount goes to pay for city services -- like police and safety.

While the mayor and city council members also solicit donations from the private sector, the city refuses to contribute. The mayor says if you fund one parade, you have to fund all others.

"If we say yes now, it's just going to start the slow slippery slope," Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison said.

Some here like the idea of not dipping into the general fund because it saves the taxpayers' money and others disagree.

Fremont resident Dennis Wolfe said, "I have no idea why this city cannot come up with a meager amount of money when we are one of the biggest, most successful cities not just in the Bay Area but across the country."

And every year it's a struggle to raise the money to put on this parade.

Few also know that in the past, the city's human resources office has spent close to $2,000 of taxpayer money to participate in the San Francisco Gay Pride parade. But that is not the case anymore.

"Zero dollars this year. This was the first year. In years past, the city has paid the liability for the human resources committee - it's their event to go through and pay for. This year, it was all raised with private donations," Harrison said.

Now the city council is considering a proposal to set aside money in the city's budget for all community events. The matter will be taken up in fall.
Related Topics:
news holiday 4th of july event 4th of july parade fundraiser Fremont
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