$600,000 Approved For Quincy 400

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy city councillors on Monday approved an appropriation of $600,000 to cover costs associated with the Quincy 400 initiative, which will celebrate the quadricentennial of the city’s 1625 settlement next year.

“The goal of this exercise is to provide the seed money where we will have some ability over the next couple of months to come up with a rough schedule or calendar, the detailed breakdown of all the programs we’re going to do,” said Chris Walker, the chief of staff to Mayor Thomas Koch.

“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we’re going to do everything we can to make this a memorable experience for the city.”

Councillors approved the appropriation in an 8-0 vote on Monday; Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy was not present at Monday’s meeting.

The $600,000 will come from the city’s hotel/motel tax receipts, a tax charged to visitors who stay in one of Quincy’s hotels or motels. Eric Mason, the city’s director of municipal finance, said there was $2.7 million in that account prior to the council vote. Mason anticipates the city will collect an additional $1.2 million in hotel/motel taxes in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2024, which ends on June 30, and $1.3 million in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1.

The total costs of the Quincy 400 initiative are expected to be higher than $600,000, Walker wrote in a memo to city councillors. The city hopes to get outside funding for the initiative, he said, and having the initial funding in place will make that easier.

“What’s before the body is essentially seed money to get the ball rolling on planning and certain specific activities that have been discussed to date,” he said in the memo. “We fully anticipate that that the costs associated with the celebrations befitting the significance of this anniversary will be greater than what’s before you – but the goal is use this initial funding to leverage private donations via outside groups and sponsorship dollars in the coming months.”

The $600,000 will also allow the city to “get to a firm final plan, a full calendar, and the schedule and timing of projects associated with the anniversary celebration,” Walker wrote, and the administration is hopeful that information could be shared with the City Council before the body recesses for the summer at the end of June.

The memo also included a rough estimate of how the $600,000 would be spent.

Half of the funds, $300,000, will be for programming. That could include a major concert or concerts; a lecture series featuring notable Quincy residents or others with ties to the city; educational programming within the Quincy Public Schools; museum exhibits; expansion of existing events, like Lunar New Years and the Flag Day and Christmas parades; and “the telling of our immigrant story.”

The second largest item, $100,000, would be for personnel/contractual. That could include project management, outside firms to assist in major bookings, and an outside firm to assist in corporate sponsorships.

The budget also includes $80,000 for marketing – promotional materials, branding and souvenirs – and $20,000 for a website. Also included in the budget is $50,000 each for a heritage tree program and an historic signage program.

While the memo included those estimates, Walker said they are subject to change.

“Please note that the funding is flexible,” he wrote in the memo. “The Council is being asked to appropriate the bottom line total of $600,000, not the individual budget buckets. The funding would be interchangeable as specific plans take shape.

“Many of the ideas below came from community discussions and internal planning over the last several years, and we certainly hope you will continue share your ideas with us in the lead up to the new year.”

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