City will cover cost for cops at Hollister rally

Hollister – The Hollister City Council agreed to contract
additional outside police officers to increase the city’s police
force during the Hollister Independence Rally weekend in July,
squelching any concerns the rally could be canceled due to lack of
security as it almost was last year.
Hollister – The Hollister City Council agreed to contract additional outside police officers to increase the city’s police force during the Hollister Independence Rally weekend in July, squelching any concerns the rally could be canceled due to lack of security as it almost was last year.

“This year it really seems like they’re on-target. They’re working very, very hard to make this the safest and best event possible,” said Councilman Robert Scattini, who has been working with the Hollister Independence Rally Committee for the past three years. “I’m happy to say I’m part of the group working to make this thing go.”

Now in its eighth year, the Hollister Independence Rally is a three-day motorcycle enthusiasts’ celebration that closes off the downtown to all traffic except pedestrians and motorcycles.

The annual rally was born of the city’s original Independence Day rally that has become legendary as a day when hordes of bikers roared into town and look Hollister over for the weekend in 1947.

Monday night, the council earmarked $300,000 to cover wages and workman’s compensation for additional officers from agencies throughout the state to staff the police force for the three-day event. The intent of the city’s contract with HIRC is that the nonprofit will reimburse the city for all of the cost, City Manager Clint Quilter told the council Monday.

The provision for extra law enforcement officers will be a welcome development for HIRC, which saw the annual rally nearly canceled last year due to a lack of police officers to patrol the event. By late April of 2004, 37 additional police officers had agreed to come to Hollister and work at the rally, though it’s unclear how many additional officers will be required this year.

According to the contract, the city will be obligated to pay all of the costs incurred by hiring extra police officers, regardless of how much HIRC actually reimburses the city.

Still, Quilter said, the city should expect to actually make money off of this year’s rally.

The city will credit HIRC $60,000 in anticipated sales tax revenue from the $300,000 police bill, Quilter said.

“That’s a $60,000 assumption that that’s the sales tax that will be generated,” Quilter explained.

And, he added, the city and HIRC are hoping a new book-keeping system will keep better track of the tax revenue Hollister can glean from the rally than it has in previous years.

This year, Hollister will receive the same vendor reports that go to the state, so the city will be able to see not only what the total revenue was, but how much money the state will actually return to Hollister.

In addition, Quilter reminded the council, these reports won’t include the increased sales tax generated from local businesses, gas stations and restaurants the city will likely attract during the busy event.

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