Funding from Coffs Harbour City Council for the  2014 International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been reduced.
Funding from Coffs Harbour City Council for the 2014 International Buskers and Comedy Festival has been reduced. Trevor Veale/Coffs Coast Advocate

Buskers getting less change from Council

COFFS Harbour's 2014 International Buskers and Comedy Festival is expected to be a leaner event after Coffs Harbour City Council decided to cut funding from $55,000 to $30,000.

Last year the council tipped in $51,775 for the festival, which had an income of $42,603 but costs of $94,378.

Over the past 10 years the average annual financial contribution from the council has been $35,000 but in the past three years, expenses have risen and sponsorships have fallen with the downturn in the economy.

At Thursday's council meeting, deputy mayor Rodney Degens moved that the balance of the budgeted funds be made available for other events.

Cr Bob Palmer said the festival had been subsidised to the tune of $370,000 in 10 years and it was "not showing any return".

Cr Nan Cowling said the event had been successful in the past but after 15 years had lost its appeal.

Cr Garry Innes said he shared a lot of their thoughts, but believed the buskers was a good thing for Coffs Harbour and they had to see if business would take up sponsorship of the event. Cr Keith Rhoades said towns that created signature events could lose them to others forever if they dropped out for a year.

"No one has spoken of anything other than cost - how many thousands go into the tourism budget," Cr Rhoades said.

"This promotes our area.

"We can never overlook the unknown dollar figure of how much it has brought in over those years."

He suggested $6.7 million and said the buskers had brought in more funds than they had cost.

Cr Mark Sultana, who launched the discussion on Buskers Festival financing last year, declared a conflict of interest, left the room and did not take part in this discussion.