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City Council decides not to contribute funds for Glendale’s 2017 Rose Parade float

The city of Glendale float "Getting there is half the fun" rolls down Orange Grove Ave. as it starts the 5.5-mile long 2016 Rose Parade presented by Honda in Pasadena on Friday, January 1, 2016.

The city of Glendale float “Getting there is half the fun” rolls down Orange Grove Ave. as it starts the 5.5-mile long 2016 Rose Parade presented by Honda in Pasadena on Friday, January 1, 2016.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)
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The city will not spend $200,000 on a float entry in next year’s Tournament of Roses Parade, the City Council decided this week, citing a lack of funds raised for it and disinterest in the community.

Council members voted in 2015 to front the same amount of money for the float in this year’s parade and gave the newly formed Rose Float Assn. the task of gradually taking over the reins through fundraising.

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At the time, Mayor Ara Najarian said he wouldn’t entertain the idea of contributing any more city money unless the nonprofit raised at least $50,000.

The final tally the association raised by the council meeting on Tuesday was $26,000.

The council voted 3-2 against appropriating money for a float entry, with Councilmen Zareh Sinanyan and Vartan Gharpetian voting in favor of funding it.

Najarian said he didn’t see the value in a float when there are other organizations that have a bigger need for donations.

“There are nonprofits that are struggling to do good for children, for seniors, for the disabled, for the homeless,” he said. “I just can’t see paying this type of money again for a Rose float that is not supported.”

Councilwoman Paula Devine agreed, saying the investment was not worth the brief exposure for Glendale on national television.

Two years ago, the city didn’t enter a float in the New Year’s Day parade for the first time in a century. In recent years, paying for the float has alternated between being fully funded by the city or in combination with local fundraising efforts.

City staffers cited budget shortfalls for missing out on the 2015 parade, while a surplus in the city budget helped cover this year’s float.

Sinanyan said he was disappointed in the association’s fundraising efforts, but still wanted to give the group another chance.

“Let’s stick with the float,” he said. “I think losing this float would be a major breach in Glendale tradition. I still have faith in the residents of Glendale in embracing a float and [wanting] to be represented in the parade.”

Keith Sorem, the association’s president, told council members that he had hoped more money would have been raised as well, but there’s a lot he and his colleagues learned in the past year.

“Even though we didn’t meet our goals, it’s not as though we don’t have plans to move forward,” he said.

There’s a fundraising kickoff breakfast at 7 a.m. next Wednesday at Brand Studios in Brand Park. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich will be the keynote speaker.

One of the advantages for the association this year is that fundraising is starting much earlier, compared to June last year, Sorem said in a phone interview.

Also, 5,000 mailers asking for donations were sent out at the beginning of the year, he added.

As for what becomes of the potential 2017 Rose Parade entry for Glendale, there’s

still time for the council to change its mind because contracts with float designers are typically finalized by June, Sorem said.

Hopefully, that’s enough time to get one of the council members who voted against funding to change their mind, he said.

“The circumstances are different from last year, and the community is going to have to tell the council [the float] is something that they want,” Sorem said

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Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian

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