HAWAIIAN GARDENS : Cost Fails to Derail Anniversary Parade

A parade marking the 31st anniversary of the city's founding on April 8 is back on track after being temporarily derailed by criticism over its estimated $21,470 cost.

The City Council voted 4 to 1 last week to hire parade organizer Pageantry Productions for a fee of $5,500. In addition to the organizer's fee, the city will pay for insurance, event publicity, parade equipment and supplies, awards, entertainment, judges and transportation of marching bands.

Councilman Domenic Ruggeri voted against the proposal, arguing that the city cannot afford the cost of holding a parade. Ruggeri said the city should do without a parade this year because it has a $1.3 million budget deficit.

Hawaiian Gardens has celebrated its birthday with a parade almost every year since it became a city. Pageantry Productions has organized the event for several years.

City Administrator Nelson Oliva said the costs will be partly offset by the city's share of revenue from a carnival on parade day, sponsorship fees and donations from merchants.

Mayor Kathleen M. Navejas said city officials have canceled plans to attend the Contract Cities Assn.'s annual conference in Palm Springs, which should save $10,000 to $20,000, to help pay for the parade.

"The parade brings unity to the community," Navejas said.

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