With South Jacksonville trustees divided on the future of the Concert in the Cornfield, the deciding vote was left in the hands of Village President Gordon Jumper.
Contracts for the sound equipment and opening act were voted on during Thursday’s South Jacksonville meeting.
The Concert in the Cornfield has received mixed reviews from village trustees and South Jacksonville residents over the past year, and voting results from trustees confirmed that notion even further.
Trustees Kem Wilson, Stacey Pinkerton and Mike Elliott cast their votes against the two contracts. Sonie Smith, Steve Waltrip and John Gotschall showed their support of the contracts by voting for their approval.
With a tie vote from trustees, the deciding vote was placed in the hands of Jumper. He explains why he approved the contracts.
“The fact is that the funds for this are taken care of through the hotel and motel tax,” says Jumper.
“Specifically, the hotel and motel tax is designed to be collected and expenditures to be used for events that bring people into the village. This event sells out every hotel for every year.”
Jumper added that previous concerts have brought hundreds of thousands of people into the village.
“It creates a significant amount of commercial activity. The success of the restaurants, bars and other hospitality facilities in the community have been favorably impacted. It literally puts the village on the map,” says Jumper.
Trustee Wilson says the approval of the contracts was “frustrating” and “not surprising.”
Wilson feels it should be a “no brainer” to vote against these contracts.
“It loses $40,000 plus every year. I realize we have funds set aside, in a special account, for village tourism and promotion. There are other avenues to pursue besides Concert in the Cornfield,” says Wilson.
The annual concert is scheduled for September 12th.