ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's the signature Albuquerque event – and Balloon Fiesta just signed on for another 15 years at Balloon Fiesta Park.
There are some interesting things in the deal city councilors passed last night.
The city and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta have been in talks for about a year. They both say the new agreement is a win-win - even though the city won't be getting much money from AIBF.
AIBF now has to pay the city $100,000 a year for the license – instead of $50,000.
That doesn't begin to cover the $850,000 the city spends on the Fiesta each year for things like security, trash and dust control.
But the Mayor Richard Berry says the $120 million the Balloon Fiesta pumps into the economy each year does cover the costs – and then some.
"This is great for the city of Albuquerque; it's great for the Balloon Fiesta," said Berry. "A 15 year extension of the contract means we will have one of the premiere events in the entire world right here in our backyard for the next 15 years."
Still, AIBF might not be paying any of those fees any time during its 15-year contract.
That's because the city and AIBF agreed on a $1.5 million dollar credit for improvements the organization made to the park – things like adding grass to the once dirt-fields.
"Balloon fiesta has a vested interest in making sure the park is up to snuff, that it looks great," said Tom Garrity, spokesperson for AIBF.
ABIF rakes in about $6 million dollars in revenue annually – but says it spends almost all that money each year on the festival.
The non-profit reports they netted just $75,000 last year.
"[The revenue] goes into the event. Balloon fiesta flies in pilots, provides them meals, provides them propane," Garrity said. "It goes into volunteers by providing meals, jackets, things of that nature."
The new agreement also nudges AIBF to increase participation by local vendors – and to use them when possible.
The contract also shortens the time AIBF can use Balloon Fiesta Park from three months to two months.
The gives the city the chance to use it for other purposes in August
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