Thursday, September 7, 2017

Financially strained Huntington Beach air show gets a $100,000 boost from city

The financially struggling Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow will receive about $100,000 in support from the city after the City Council on Tuesday approved temporary increases to parking and recreational vehicle camping rates during this year’s event, which is set to run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

The council voted 4-0 for the rate hikes and to defer public safety payments for the air show’s operator, AirSupport LLC.

Councilman Billy O’Connell recused himself because of business interests in the area. Councilman Erik Peterson and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Posey were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

AirSupport LLC is estimating a loss of $350,000 at this year’s event, and last year’s inaugural show lost about $400,000, despite having more than 560,000 visitors.

This year’s show is expected to cost $975,000.

The council’s decision will double the $15 parking fee at all south beach lots and the hourly rates at the Main Promenade Parking Structure, with a maximum daily rate of $30. A $1,600 recreational vehicle pass will allow camping from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

Those scenarios are estimated to glean $145,000. However, the city will collect $45,000, a typical revenue total for a late September weekend, while AirSupport will get the rest, according to a city staff report.

Council members wanted to make clear Tuesday that the city is not taking money from taxpayers.

“We are not giving them any money,” Councilwoman Lyn Semeta said. “We would not have made that money if it wasn’t for the air show.”

Councilman Patrick Brenden agreed that the $100,000 would not be generated without the air show. He said the parking rate increases are “smart business.”

“It’s a good way for us to support something that in a couple of years, with additional sponsor support, will be great for the city,” Brenden said.

The council’s decision also allows AirSupport to delay its payments for public safety and other city personnel for up to 45 days after the event.

This year’s show will feature the Blue Angels and the Canadian Snowbirds, a popular military jet demonstration team.

Last year’s event featured the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Breitling Jet Team.

Admission to the show is free. A portion of vendors’ proceeds will go toward the Aerospace Educational Foundation of Huntington Beach, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering education in the aerospace industry.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.latimes.com

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