City puts PLJ fees and funds on hold

Promote La Jolla’s shoestring budget continues to get tighter.

At the June 10 meeting, Treasurer Daisy Fitzgerald told the board that, as of June, the city is withholding the business improvement district’s expense reimbursements until a review of the group’s finances is complete.

President Rick Wildman reminded board members “the city is reviewing all of our banking records,” from its recent line of credit problems to its relationship with the Promote La Jolla Foundation and the Coastal Access and Parking Board.

Because the review is not complete and, with a delay in getting the city council’s approval to renew its BID status, it could be August or September before the city frees up the money, he noted.

Until the council acts, businesses will not be charged the fees that they pay to be in the district, likely at least for July and August, Wildman said, adding that it was his understanding that they also will not be billed retroactively.

PLJ did receive a check for $12,000 late last week - the reimbursement for January-March Fees, Wildman said.

Planning for 2010

In the meantime, PLJ is tightening its spending and planning a minimalist 2010 budget, Fitzgerald said, noting that it has put priorities on projects that will improve the appearance of the Village such as replacing the old hanging baskets with ones containing drought tolerant plants.

The budget includes funding to continue the Gallery & Wine Walk, which will be held in the fall although the date is still open. Its contribution to the annual La Jolla Motor Car Classic, set for Jan. 10-11, remains in doubt, although they want to support it, said Wildman.

Greg Rizzi, who is heading up the car show planning committee, told the board, “To see it not included (in the budget) was somewhat of a surprise.”

On June 9, he accompanied Wildman to the county supervisors’ meeting where they requested $15,000 for the event. In the past, Supervisor Pam Slater-Price has supported the group with money from her community fund.

Waiting game

“Our fingers are crossed, but we probably won’t know until July,” Rizzi said on June 11.

Even though he is still somewhat concerned because of the economy, “the show’s going to go on,” he added.

PLJ, which has previously been the lead on the car show, handed it off to a committee earlier this year - which includes some PLJ board members along with car afficionados and Rizzi, a former PLJ board member.

He told the board that the group continues to need PLJ’s support to help on the front end. He said he expects the event to cost about $100,000 and to bring in about $124,000 between sponsors and entry fees.

Moving cautiously

In the past, he said, Promote La Jolla has provided about $50,000 up front to help with advertising, marketing and printing expenses. This year, he said, they will try and get by with $25,000 while they encourage sponsors to make payments sooner.

They’re trimming back on some expenses and depending more on the Web site this year.

Sponsorships are trickling in, with Symbolic Motors sending in its first installment last week. But it’s coming more slowly than in the past, he noted, and one key sponsor, a bank, will not be involved this year so they’re trying to make up for that $20,000 through more, smaller amounts.

It will be the sixth year for the event, which will have about 150 high-end collector cars at the Cove. A second event has been added - a rally that Rizzi described as “more of a slow moving procession” that will start at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park, visit several private collections and cruise through Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad. It will end at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, which has donated a reception.

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