Zombicon likely will not receive city funds this year, but Fort Myers City Council plans to make changes so new applicants aren't overlooked again next year.
Related: Zombicon event info
"I don't see any way that we can add any more funding for any more special events this year," Councilwoman Teresa Watkins Brown said.
Facing a $11.2 million budget shortfall this year, council decided not to increase its event grant funding. The $141,500 in allotted grant money went to the same events that received money last year. None of the five new events that applied, including Zombicon, were considered.
Zombicon, which brings thousands of "zombies" to downtown Fort Myers every October, asked the city for a $50,000 special event grant.
Of the 16 events awarded grants last year, nine did not submit this year's application on time, Maria Joyner, director of finance, said. All but one were still awarded grants.
Zombicon's application was submitted on time.
"Sounds like we've got some repair work to do," said Councilman Mike Flanders, who worried inviting organizations to apply without hope of consideration was misleading.
A special event advisory board was created in 2001 to review grant applications, but the board seems to have dissolved over the past decade, Joyner said. She recommended council establish a new committee.
Zombicon organizer Janet DeMarco said she knows the city wants the event to be a success.
"At the moment we're just hoping they can work with us with the city services as far as the deposits and things they're wanting from us," she said. "But we will be paying our bills and we will be paying them on time."
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