For Moncure/Haywood Food Truck rally

The $100k food truck rally

BY CASEY MANN, News + Record Staff
Posted 12/13/18

Chatham County will consider whether to continue funding a food truck festival in Moncure amidst a debate about whether the group’s initial request of $100,000 was granted – and if not, how best to fund the event moving forward.

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For Moncure/Haywood Food Truck rally

The $100k food truck rally

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Chatham County will consider whether to continue funding a food truck festival in Moncure amidst a debate about whether the group’s initial request of $100,000 was granted – and if not, how best to fund the event moving forward.

The Moncure-Haywood Event Organization put on the event in September, supported by funding from the county. The group, represented by Quentin Murray, requested funding in July in an amount not to exceed $100,000. The group estimated its costs would be about $17,000 with an estimated attendance of 2,500.

At that time, Murray noted that the group was not yet a fully formed non-profit and as such was having a difficult time raising funds for the event. Murray also noted the group was interested in hosting other events in the future.

The commissioners asked that the group work with former Chatham County manager Renee Paschal to create a contract for the food truck event, not to exceed $100,000, with a budget that would be based on receipts.

Based on the agreement passed by commissioners in August, the county allocated just under $25,000 to be available to the group.

The money used was drawn from the Coal Ash settlement, millions of dollars Duke Energy was required to pay to Chatham for dumping coal ash at Brickhaven located on Moncure-Flatwood Road in Moncure.

Murray’s organization was required to prepare a final report for the county following the event, listing vendors, performers and attendance. The report also had to list any revenue received at the festival and proof of expenses paid.

Murray presented that report to the Board of Commissioners on Nov. 19 – saying the event drew about 1,800 visitors, with expenses of $15,425. Responding to questions from the board, he said total revenue was just over $1,600.

Following the presentation, Murray requested the group be funded by the county for the next three years at $25,000 each year.

“My interpretation was that we asked for $100,000 and then met with Renee [Paschal],” Murray said. “My interpretation was that with the approval of up to $100,000, that since we did not use—only a portion of is—if we could continue with asking for support for next year.”

Murray noted that the group received its status in the mail the day before the event. The N.C. Secretary of State’s office, however, notes the group’s official formation date as July 24.

Commissioner Walter Petty, noting the group had achieved non-profit status, said he felt the group should be “moved into the pool of non-profits” with funding to be considered in the same budgeting process as other non-profits.

“Surely if the funding was there two months ago, we should be considered for it again,” Murray said.

“We can’t sit here and pick and choose the agencies we are going to fund and not fund,” Petty said. “It’s got to be a system that it goes through and evaluated and put on a scale of performance. Now I’m not discounting the fact that it’s a good service. Don’t take this message that way. It’s about deciding who you’re going to fund and not fund without some sort of process.”

The board did not arrive at a decision about whether the initial approval was for $100,000, nor did it decide if or how the non-profit group should receive funding.
The board did determine that they would bring the issue back at a later meeting, likely Dec. 17, as two members of the commission, commissioners Mike Dasher and Karen Howard were not in attendance.

Petty requested the county manager put together all expenses paid out in support of the Moncure area since the coal ash agreement. This would include air and water quality monitoring, funding for wastewater lines to the Moncure megasite, and other efforts in the community. This will also likely be on the Dec. 17 agenda.

“I’m not going to let this be a one-sided…like we don’t care,” Petty said. “I voted for every one of those things. I believe we should do those things.”

After the meeting, Petty elaborated on the situation to the News + Record, noting his concern for oversight for any entity that uses public funds.

“Although community events are a crucial part of building an active, engaged and viable community, the county doesn’t normally fund them,” Petty said. “Most of these events are handled by some civic organization that does its own fundraising and possibly gets support dollars as a nonprofit.

“When I questioned what we were asked to do, it was seen as not supporting the event. This wasn’t the case at all. The problem I have with the Moncure/ Haywood Food truck event is that we didn’t follow any of our budgeting protocol,” he said.

Petty then noted the county’s non-profit funding process which includes a ranking system based on the community needs assessment.

“The nonprofit process has a system that ranks the request to assist in decision process,” Petty said.

The board will likely take up the subject at its next meeting on Dec. 17 at the Historic Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro.


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