BorderFest results in $33,000 loss

    HIDALGO — The city here lost about $33,000 hosting its biggest annual event: BorderFest 2017.

    HIDALGO — The city here lost about $33,000 hosting its biggest annual event: BorderFest 2017.

    Hidalgo council members received the event’s financial report during a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night. The documents they received from the city’s finance department indicated the city was at a loss of more than $82,000.

    However, City Manager Julian Gonzalez told The Monitor the documents the council received Monday night were not completely updated. They lacked revenue figures from the event’s indoor concert, which featured Maluma, an up-and-coming Colombian singer, songwriter and record producer.

    The city released figures Tuesday that indicated the revenue stream that stemmed from the concert totaled over $49,000 — bringing the city’s net loss to $33,049.01.

    Hidalgo spent over $530,000 to stage this year’s event. This figure, however, does not include the money spent on overtime for city employees, who work almost around-the-clock to organize and run the event.

    “When are we going to include the payroll?” council member Rudy Franz asked Finance Director Ernesto Monita.

    “We can do an estimate — a close estimate — to the amount that was spent,” Monita replied.

    Gonzalez pointed out the council already includes overtime in the budget for the special events department.

    “It was never included, but now we included it in our budget,” Gonzalez said, alluding to the change in leadership the event recently underwent.

    BorderFest went through a rocky start last year when the city, the chamber of commerce and the BorderFest Association battled for control of the 40-year-old festival. The association, which previously ran the event, wanted to move it out of the city to McAllen.

    The fight ended up in court, where a district judge ruled the event should be kept in Hidalgo until a trial begins.

    “It would be interesting to see how much money we spent in 2010, 2011, 2012. … ” council member Sergio Coronado posited.

    “That is exactly what I’m looking for,” Franz replied. “That way we can show everybody that we are doing the thing the way we’re supposed to. … You don’t want to go back to what we were doing before. We criticized that system, now we want to correct it.”

    “At least now we can say we spent so much,” Gonzalez said. “We have some financials that we can show, but before, we didn’t know… because we didn’t have any information on that.”

    The council lamented the rain that they believe contributed to a loss of revenue this year. Rain on Saturday of the festival — traditionally the event’s biggest day — caused city officials to shut down midway through the day’s planned festivities.

    Two major performances — Los Cardenales de Nuevo Leon and Pesado — could not perform on the outdoor stages and had to cancel.

    “It got to the point where it would have been a safety issue,” Gonzalez said.

    Instead, city officials are negotiating with the two performers to appear at either the Fourth of July celebration or the city’s Festival of Light’s posada in December.