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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Thunder on the Street funding draws split vote from council

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

The funding for the Thunder on the Street motorcycle rally in Pleasanton for another two years drew a split vote by members of the city council. (Journal file photo)

PLEASANTON – Thunder on the Street, the motorcycle rally that has been held on Main Street in Pleasanton for the last three years, might have been in danger when the Pleasanton City Council split on whether to form a committee to help sponsor the event.

In a rare move on Monday, Oct. 16, Mayor Mike Frisbie broke a tie vote on the issue by voting in favor of a motion by Council Member Aaron Portman to give $6,000 to the Thunder on the Street committee, a committee described by Council Member Jake Mattingley as a group comprised of city residents and members of the motorcycle club that currently sponsors it.

Mattingley and Portman voted in favor of the motion. Council Members Kimberly Herring and Rochelle Schreckhise voted against it.

While both Schreckhise and Herring said they didn’t have anything against the one-day rally, they said they opposed the motion because there was no money in the city’s budget to pay for the event.

Before she left her post as city administrator, Teresa Whitaker said that a few members of the regional Soldiers for Jesus motorcycle club that worked tirelessly to put on the event had told her they were struggling to do the planning and background work needed for the event.

In discussing the need for a committee of Pleasanton residents to help out, Mattingley alluded to that fact as well. He said that the Soldiers for Jesus club was worried about the future of the rally and that this year’s rally “wore them out.”

He asked that the council appoint a committee to work with the motorcycle club and commit to helping fund it for the next two years. He said that several businesses supported the rally, including Linn County Liquor and the manager of Food Fair.

He said the vast majority of the city’s residents loved it and that he could get additional letters of support.

Herring said she wanted to know where the money was going and suggested that the motorcycle club submit a proposal outlining what they needed to put on the event.

Schreckhise said that the money simply wasn’t there to fund the event. “I don’t think we, honestly, do have the money to spend on that, do we?”

Frisbie pointed out that the rally brings money into the community, and that the members of the motorcycle club felt like Pleasanton had embraced the event.

City Administrator Becky Hegwald said she would check the city records to determine how much sales tax revenue came in as a result of the rally.

Thunder on the Street has been successful in bringing hundreds of bikers to Pleasanton for the one-day event, but Herring and Schreckhise said that while the bikers shopped at vendors, most of which were from out of town, local businesses did not benefit much.

Angie Randall, a candidate for the Pleasanton council in the election this November, said she had learned from the owners of Cookee’s Drive-in that their business did not increase as a result of the rally.

Mattingley said that the $6,000 the city spent was a “drop in the bucket” compared to the money it brought in.

But Schrecknis said that it was much more than just $6,000. She said both the public works crew getting ready for the event and the city’s police department provided extra security, and she was sure that overtime was paid for that work.

“Nobody says we’re not going to have to pay to keep this going,” Portmann said.

“But if we had it in the budget, that would be different,” Schreckhise said.

The 2023 budget for the city council was $13,000. For 2024 that was bumped up to $15,600. As of Sept. 30, the expenditures for the council was almost $15,000, according the Hegwald, almost $2,000 over budget.

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