The story last week about freshly sworn in city councilor Jori Nelson’s request that Prairie Village donate $1,000 to SM East’s drug and alcohol free graduation party set off a lively comment chain, and one of the issues that Nelson brought up in said comments (and during the council meeting) was the money the city spends on the bar for its annual holiday party.
For around 25 years, Prairie Village has hosted an annual volunteer appreciation holiday party each December. The city invites the members of its volunteer committees (of which there are 20, including the Parks and Recreation Committee, Animal Control Board, Civil Service Commission, and others), the city council, department managers and former mayors. Each invitee can bring a guest. Last year, 153 of the invitees RSVPed.
The total budget for the party is around $10,000 each year, and includes facility rental (it’s usually held at Homestead Country Club), food, beverages, service, live musicians (chamber strings players) and a disc jockey.
The party includes a full bar with beer, wine and mixed drinks available. Last year, the city spent $2,907.96 on all expenses related to the service of alcohol at the party (drink costs, service costs and liquor taxes). In 2012, the cost was $2,093,52.
City Administrator Quinn Bennion said the city does not keep track of all the hours of work volunteers donate to the city, but that it “is significant and reaches into the 1,000s of hours of community service.” Members of the city council and city committees receive no financial compensation in Prairie Village, as they do other northeast Johnson County municipalities.
“The annual volunteer appreciation dinner is how the City, Mayor and Council share appreciation for all of the volunteer time, dedication, expertise and efforts to build a better community,” said Bennion.
Do you think the city should provide alcohol at its annual volunteer appreciation party? Why or why not? Is the city’s spending level on its annual volunteer appreciation party appropriate?
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