Contention Arises in Susanville City Council Over Funding County Events


There is contention on Susanville’s city council over covering costs for county community events, raising questions about local government cooperation.

During the council’s June 5th meeting, two items were up for approval: the closure of Main Street for the Lassen County Fair and the closure of North Street for the Lassen Chamber of Commerce Main Street Cruise and Classic Car Show at Memorial Park.

What is usually routine and given with quick support and approval, one of the council’s newest members, Patrick Parrish, challenged the city’s handing over of monies to cover events under the “county’s banner,” spurring disagreement among the council members.

Public works director Bob Godman, when presenting the items, detailed that it would cost the city an estimated near 7,000 dollars for city staffing and insurance to close Main Street for the fair parade and another nearly 1000 dollars to close North Street for the Cruise and car show.

Parrish questioned if the Susanville taxpayer should “be on the hook” for county events. Parrish stated, “Every other week, someone’s asking the taxpayers to pay for these events, and are we getting our money back? What are we getting for it? And does Lassen County have the ability to pay for this themselves? It has to be said. I mean I’m not against the parade, but do they have 6,800 they can throw their own parade and pay for it? Because as of right now, it’s under their banner, but we’re paying for it.”

Mayor Schuster responded that Parrish’s point was “food for thought” but called the road closure requests part of a long-standing tradition. The mayor also noted that the city collects the sales tax from the vendors at the fair, to which Fair Manager Kaitlyn Midgley said “should more than cover the costs.”

Council member Curtis Bortle argued in favor of approving the closures, noting that they are community-driven. “We may not always ask for people to pay for these things, but I think the public at large is… you know it’s a public interest thing. I think the public is interested that we do these things…we take the public funds that are collected by the city, and we give it back to them.”

Parrish continued to stress that he didn’t believe it was beneficial to the Susanville taxpayers to pay for “something under someone else’s banner.”

Mayor Schuster concluded that Parrish has given the city “something to think about.” Both motions passed with Parrish as the sole dissenting vote.

The discussion underscores the question of cooperation between the county and the city, which have yet to formalize a partnership such as the one the City and Susanville Indian Rancheria have established to bring unity to streamline such things.