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Price City council debates fiscal responsibility for farmers market

By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter


Produce at the Price Peace Gardens farmers market.

Price city debated their proposed responsibility as the farmers market fiscal agent during a Sept. 11 council meeting.

According to the council, representative from the Utah State Extension have requested that Price city provide fiscal services for their farmers market, taking the responsibility from the educational body's main campus in Logan. The market participants are charged $10 for booth space and then those funds are used by the extension for advertising purposes. It is the state extension's contention that the funds would be more evenly and easily administered if a local entity could take fiscal responsibility for the funds.

The council was split in their reaction to the request.

"I love the vibrancy and value that the market adds to our community," said Price City Councilmember Jeanne McEvoy. "I don't see why we can't accommodate them."

Councilmember Kathy Hanna-Smith had a similar reaction.

"The enhancement that the market adds to our downtown is fantastic," she said. "I feel we should do anything possible to help them continue."

Councilmember Rick Davis and city financial officer Pat Larsen voiced their opinion that the market is not the responsibility of Price city.

"Are we really the only option for them?" questioned Larsen. "I don't think these are Price city fees and if they are not then it is going to be a lot of work for our financial department, we would have to set them up completely within our system."

Theresa Kinder makes change for a customer that is buying produce from her at the Price Peace Gardens farmers market this summer.

Larsen spoke to the fact that the financial department at Price city is already overworked as they are trying to finish out their fiscal year. Also she contended that grant writing and other responsibilities of her office are already strained.

As an option councilmember Hanna-Smith and city mayor Joe Piccolo discussed possibly waving the fees for the market and using funds from the Price City Community Progress Committee to pick up the tab or having someone under the financial department take care of the account.

"The community progress committee could help absorb the costs to some point," said Smith.

Mayor Piccolo stated, "I would like to see us do this even if someone else, maybe from the wellness center were to do the actual bookkeeping. They only run for 12 weeks and they want the money to stay here. I would like to see us help them."

In reaction Larsen stated, "It's not the amount of money it's the fact that you have to set them up their own account and if you bring someone else in to manage the account then we still have to train them."

The council deferred to their legal council Nick Sampinos who suggested that the council form a sub-committee to investigate the issue, find out where the money is going, who it belongs to, what it is used for and who should be responsible for it.

Councilmembers received the advice and appointed Davis, Larsen, Hanna-Smith and David Patterson to the committee. They will report to the council at their next scheduled meeting.






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