by Lisa Tome
Thanks but no, thanks.
That's what officials from the Rising Sun Lions Club have told town officials when it comes to the town paying a portion of the cost of tickets to the Lions' upcoming Summer Feast.
The idea of the town selling tickets and contributing $5 per ticket has been rejected by the Lions Club.
"It is a conflict. I don't want to do it," said Mary Beth Jackson, President of the Rising Sun Lions Club. "I do feel we don't want to do it. It could cause more of a problem."
In July, town administrator Calvin Bonenberger, who is a member of the Rising Sun Lions Club, proposed that the town sell tickets to the feast at a discounted cost. The Town would then contribute $5 per ticket. In mid-July, Commissioner Travis Marion made a formal proposal and the town board unanimously approved the plan.
Commissioner Marion said he contacted the town insurance carrier, LGIT (Local Government Insurance Trust) and found that the town has no risk of exposure to liability for selling tickets to the event which will be held at American Legion Post 194.
At that time, Mayor Bob Fisher expressed opposition to the plan. He has been a member of the Lions Club for 30 years. He said that if the town supplements the cost of the tickets "it is not a legitimate use of town money."
"The Lions Club does a lot of good work. The least we can do is show our support," said Commissioner George Walker. Commissioner Evelyn Digger concurred.
"I don't agree with it," said Fisher.
The Lions Club didn't like the plan either.
"I don't like the idea of taking tax dollars," said Jackson. "Maybe the first initial thought was with good intention. We don't want to be ungrateful. The more people we can get to these events, the more we can give back."
Town administrator Calvin Bonenberger sent the following press release regarding the matter via email last week. The press release was not signed.
"At the last Town meeting, the Board of Commissioners voted on a joint initiative with members of the Rising Sun Lions Club to have the Town sell tickets for the Annual Lions Club feast. In addition, as a way of providing an extra perk to residents of the Town of Rising Sun, the Town was going to sell those tickets at a discount to Rising Sun residents only, with the Town covering the additional cost as a way of helping the Lions Club with their feast. This would also provide an opportunity for the Town to promote family fun activities for our residents.
The Town of Rising Sun recognizes the extraordinary things that the Lions Club does for the community at large and we were only trying to help with that fund raising effort. As it turns out, the best intentions can sometimes lead to unintended consequences, such as reducing overall tickets sale volume for the event. Therefore, in cooperation with the Lions Club, we will be selling tickets here at Town Hall but they will be sold at the normal face value price and with no discount. We are sorry for the confusion and look forward to seeing everyone at this great event."
"We do love that the town is thinking of us. But we don't want to take anything away from the people of the town," said Jackson.
But while the Town won't give the Lions a financial shot in the arm, they are promoting the feast. Bonenberger reported that money that the town received from business sponsorship banners was used to buy more banners which were installed on light poles last week to promote the Lions Club summer feast.