Sunset Strip Business Association Asks WeHo for Major Subsidy

Sunset Strip Music Festival 2013.
Sunset Strip Music Festival 2013. (Photo by Jon Viscott)

The financially troubled Sunset Strip Business Association (SSBA) is asking the City of West Hollywood to fund 22 percent of its proposed operating budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

The request for a $140,000 contribution to the SSBA’s $492,000 budget is included in a report that will be presented to the City Council at its meeting on Monday. The city money would be used to support security patrols and street cleaning and launch the annual Sunset Strip Market this summer.

The SSBA is organized as a business improvement district and is supposed to be self-funding through fees collected from businesses within its boundaries and events it puts on. Its purpose is to provide marketing, safety and cleaning services to the Strip, a major tourist destination. As of February, the SSBA was $1.3 million in debt and is having difficulty collecting fees from some of the businesses that are its members.

A major reason for the SSBA’s debt is the annual Sunset Strip Music Festival, which began in 2008 as a celebration of Sunset Boulevard’s role in rock music history and which the SSBA operates. The festival last year lost $1 million, about three times the losses of the year before. The 2013 losses had led the Council to briefly consider putting the Festival on hiatus. In an attempt to improve the festival’s operation, the SSBA hired the Nederlander Organization to manage and market last year’s event. Despite that, the festival drew criticism from local residents because of the noise it created and also got negative reactions from music critics for the quality of its entertainment lineup.

The SSBA also contracted last year with Calamigos Ranch to operate the Farmers Market. The market’s focus has shifted from vending locally grown food to a range of events including beer fests and a “drag queen bingo” night https://www.wehoville.com/2014/06/23/sunset-strip-market-adds-drag-queen-bingo-repertoire/

The Council will be asked on Monday to approve the annual fee assessment on the SSBA’s businesses. The city collects the assessments from the businesses and passes the money along to the SSBA. The Council meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. A public hearing will take place on June 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at which residents and business owners can raise questions about the reauthorization of the business improvement district.

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jrose
jrose
5 years ago

@GMH, the article and comments are referring to the Sunset Strip “farmers market” which is in the old Tower Records parking lot, Thursday evenings during the summer. As a neighbor, I rather like the market. I’m disappointed that they gave up on most of the fresh produce vendors, but obviously no one was buying that stuff (besides me). But as a cool, shady venue to gather with locals for a food truck dinner and a glass of wine while listening to music, it’s actually quite nice. Terrible location for it, though, in terms of parking and pedestrian access. If you… Read more »

GMH
GMH
5 years ago

The article is about the Sunset Strip Music Festival and I hope these other comments are not referring to the Farmer’s Market at Plummer Park.

Disco Dan
Disco Dan
5 years ago

PULL THE PLUG ! ! !

Gary Ban
Gary Ban
5 years ago

The farmers market is a wondetful way to bring the community together for an evening each week. More food trucks rsther than the high priced produce might help, but for all the tax revenue generated, and the noise of the clubs we all have to endure daily up here, the market in all of its drag queen glory is the least the city can do

raymondryanmoore@aol.com

Waste of tax payer$!!! Shut it down. It’s a huge inconvenience for those of us that live in the area with no benefits or return to anyone!

JJ
JJ
5 years ago

Forget the music festival and the farmer’s market and just use the funds for extra security patrols and extra sidewalk/street cleaning. And find a way to make the businesses that aren’t paying their dues…..pay.

Todd Bianco
5 years ago

It seems like a fruitless waste to keep funding the losses for these events. It the Sunset merchants can’t pay their share of the fees and these events lose money, then they should just be killed off. Perhaps if the city can demonstrate that this “investment” has a return (i.e, a $200k increase in TOT and sales tax as a result of these events), then maybe it’s worth it. But I doubt that can be shown so let’s call it quits before we see a repeat of this exact same article next year with only the years changed and the… Read more »

90069
90069
5 years ago

SSBA is a disaster. The Farmers Market is a bad idea, the area is fortunate enough to have a glut of high-end luxury grocery stores like Pavilions, Gelsons and Bristol Farms, why on Earth would we need to pick through shriveled up offerings baking in the heat. The latest desire to make the Farmers Market into a craft beer/drag night is bizarre and too inconsistent to build up a following. Does it really bring extra revenue to the City or the businesses on the Strip? Same for the SSMF. The entire thing needs to be retooled. Why on Earth do… Read more »

Insight
5 years ago

The Sunset Music Festival loses money. The Farmer’s Market is poorly attended. Can we finally put a bullet in these ideas? To continually throw taxpayer dollars into these weak ideas doesn’t make sense.

Don Azars
Don Azars
5 years ago

Hell no, they make enough profit to finance their own organizations…which is probably a lobbying group anyway.