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Rocklin suspends Jubilee, return is doubtful

By: Jon Brines, Special to The Placer Herald
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Facing a nearly $5 million budget deficit, the Rocklin City Council voted unanimously to suspend the Jubilee slated for June. “It’s economics,” said the Director of Community Services & Facilities Mark Riemer. “The Jubilee is a costly event.” Last year the city spent nearly $134,000 in police overtime pay, part time pay, supplies and entertainment, Riemer said. The figure includes nearly $60,000 in overtime pay for 20 police officers, 40 park and city works employees and 75 to 100 part time staff. Long time Rocklin resident Gordon Haven, told the council he attended the first Jubilee in 1968 and when it goes, so does something less tangible. “I never missed a Jubilee,” Haven said. “We’re in hard times and I don’t want to speak against saving money. But on the other hand, we have a tradition here. We don’t have too many traditions in Rocklin.” The Rocklin Jubilee began in 1968 when a group of residents formed a committee to plan a festival to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Rocklin's incorporation, which was called the Diamond Jubilee, according to the city’s Web site. Haven recommended the city downsize the Jubilee to a parade but city officials say even that could cost up to $10,000. “I think that any resident would support keeping a police officer or a firefighter over a Jubilee,” said Vice Mayor Scott Yuill. City Councilman George Magnuson said with looming layoffs a celebration just seems unnecessary. “This is not an easy thing,” Magnuson said. “We’re trying not to lay people off. I think this year we need to step back.” Yuill said even though they city plans to bring the Jubilee back the economic uncertainty makes it doubtful. “There is no firm commitment to revive the event next year,” Yuill said. “The economic reality for our city is that there are no signs that the economy will turn around in 12 months.” City officials said one of the largest expenses for the Jubilee was nearly $25,000 for the fireworks show put on by local resident Ian Gilfillan who owns Pyro Spectactulars. “It’s not only a blow to our business but it’s a blow to Rocklin,” Gilfillan said. “Especially around Independence Day, people want to see fireworks. Now people in Rocklin have to go to another city.” Gilfillan said he’s been involved with the fireworks show for more than 20 years, donating man-hours and cash to the Jubilee. “My kids decorated their tricycles and rode them in the parade,” he said. “My sons have grown up and now do the show. I’m very disappointed and sad as a resident.” Rocklin charities that make up some of the Jubilee vendors are losing a revenue source, which many depend on. “I’m sorry to see it go,” said Rocklin/Loomis Basin Rotary Club President Ed Krumwiede. “We had the beer booth at the Jubilee. Everybody came to get a couple of beers before the fireworks.” The booth earned nearly $6,000, which helped fund scholarships for high school seniors and mini grants to teachers with un-funded school projects, he said. “We provide Christmas baskets for needy families,” Krumwiede said. He said the economic times have created even more need for their services. “Normally we provide 40 families with food, now it’s over 100 because there was so much need,” Krumwiede said. He hopes the Rotary club’s crab feed fundraiser at the end of February will help fill the void left by the Jubilee. With all that was being lost it brought 18-year Rocklin resident Lisa Peters to tears as she spoke to the council. “Times are tough and this is when we need to pull together,” said Peters. “I think it is the wrong time to take away the Jubilee. If we start diminishing what is so important to us, the family community, we’re not going to like what remains.”