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Fishers panel denies funds for 2018 Freedom Festival

Larry Lannan - FISHERS, Ind. (Hamilton County Reporter) -- The Fishers City Council Non-Profit Committee, consisting of council members Cecilia Coble, Brad DeReamer and Pete Peterson, recently reviewed funding applications from 25 organizations requesting city funds.

The committee recommended funding 13 of those groups. The popular Fishers Freedom Festival, which is held annually a few days before the Fourth of July, was not included in the list of organizations to receive funding.

The cuts in funding were most likely the result of the Indiana Department of Local Finance distributing more than $600,000 less in county option income tax to the city than earlier forecasts indicated. Members of the City Council Finance Committee said there would be some reduction in the amount available for the nonprofits with less money coming in than originally projected. The original plan was to provide a total of $331,500 to be split up among the chosen organizations. That figure is likely to be reduced.

Fishers Freedom Festival Executive Director Jennifer Kehl said the festival board and volunteer committees will decide by the end of October whether to have the Freedom Festival in 2018 without city funding.

In the meantime, the city issued a statement:

If the Fishers Freedom Festival Committee chooses not to host the Festival next year, the City will fill that void. The City remains committed to bringing residents together by carrying on traditions such as the parade and others our residents love."

When asked why the Freedom Festival was not selected to receive city funds next year, the statement from the city said the nonprofit committee "took a holistic view of the nonprofits that currently served our community, weighed the impact of each of those nonprofits and prioritized the funds accordingly."

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