Hyde Park residents call for Gasparilla audit listen02/03/11 Kate Bradshaw
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All the plastic beads and empty beer cans may have been swept away days ago in the wake of Gasparilla, but questions about what the city of Tampa gets out of the debauchery still remain. Some South Tampa residents are calling on City Council to audit the nonprofit that puts on the annual parade.
Thousands of people pack Downtown Tampa every year for Gasrparilla festivities. Many patronize nearby hotels and eateries. The festival has become a large part of Tampa’s identity on the national stage. In exchange, the city government provides things like law enforcement. Jack Wyatt heads the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association’s Gasparilla Committee. He said he’s not sure the amount the city spends on the festival is justifiable, and that the city probably sees only a small piece of the massive influx of corporate dollars that comes in during the parties.
The Tampa City Council adopted a nonprofit ethics ordinance last fall. City Attorney Chip Fletcher said the city can audit the way the nonprofit that puts on the festival uses public resources, but it would only include transactions occurring after city council adopted the ordinance.
Fletcher said the city gives to the nonprofit by way of in-kind contributions. The city has a multi-year contract with the organization that puts on the event, Fletcher stressed that the law would not address contracts forged in previous years.
Tampa City Council chair Tom Scott said the council would take the issue up later in the meeting.