The Cody City Council narrowly approved last week spending what funds are necessary to provide staffing for the July 3-4 Stampede parades.
Mayor Matt Hall and council members Jerry Fritz, Justin Baily and Diane Ballard voted to return funds to the fiscal year 2020-21 budget that had been dropped during the budget process when the status of the parades was in doubt due to public health orders.
The city is looking for as many volunteers as possible to fill out most of the positions to cut down the cost and avoid having to order people to work an event they don’t want to.
“I think they’ll have a pretty good turnout with volunteers,” Hall said. “Most people in the public are expecting a parade and would be calling for us to support this.”
Typically, the staffing needs for Stampede parades is 24 employees, with 10 employees being comprised from the streets division and the on-call employees for electric and water. The remaining 14 employees typically are made up from a variety of divisions, including those divisions that the overtime was reduced or eliminated during the budget process.
The additional cost would be about $2,750-$3,500 per day depending on which particular employee worked, which division or department staff time is normally allocated to and the exact hours required to work for each parade.
City manager Barry Cook said he has asked for volunteers for the July Fourth parades and has received some interest, but some paid employees will still be a part.
Last year, including police costs, the total cost was just over $25,000.
Phillip Bowman, head of public works, said it would be best to have 5-8 paid staff who have experience with the parade and with manning barricades and large crowds. He also advised giving volunteers some advance training.
Council president Landon Greer and members Heidi Rasmussen and Glenn Nielson voted against returning the funds. One big worry was adding expenses into the budget during a time of low revenues and while staff aren’t getting raises.
Another worry was mandating people cover an event they may be uncomfortable about attending due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal Protective Equipment will be made available to any staff working the parades. PPE includes an N95 mask, goggles and hand sanitizer.
“I’m not against the parade, I’m against the tradition,” Greer said. “I’m against the cost and the safety aspect for our employees.”