City still waits for Budafest report

A current member of the Budafest committee apologized to the Buda City Council earlier this month for not coming forth with answers to questions regarding the event’s cancellation in 2016.

Bert Bronaugh, Budafest committee member, spoke on his own behalf and not on behalf of the committee Feb. 17 and said he plans to present information about the festival at a future council meeting.

Bronough said council members had received an email from the Budafest committee earlier in the day Feb. 21.

“I would like to offer first an apology,” Bronaugh said as he referenced his absence at the Feb. 7 city council meeting.

Bronaugh told council members in his letter that it was a committee decision for him to not attend the Feb 7 meeting, as he has no involvement in the financials of the event, deferring to committee members Eileen Conley and Elaine Purvis.

Gonzalez presented the item Feb. 7 but said the city did not receive financial information from event organizers.

Budafest, which was to be held the first week of December 2016, was canceled due to weather. 

“Looking back, that was probably not the wisest thing to do,” Bronaugh said, “It would have been better to show up and let the residents and the council know that we (the Budafest committee) are still here working on this.”

Bronaugh said that he has been working with the Parks and Recreation Department to collect all the information city staff requested from the Budafest Committee regarding the financial end of the event.

“My desire as a committee member is that we can move forward and we can clear this up,” Bronaugh said.

In the email, Bronaugh requested a photo showing Santa and Mrs. Claus used by the Hays Free Press in a recent Budafest article not be interpreted as an accusation of the volunteer couples’ involvement in the current Budafest situation.

“They (Santa and Mrs. Claus) are unpaid volunteers who have given their time and talent to assist with the Budafest fundraising event for many years,” Bronaugh said. “They may be the faces associated with Budafest, but they should not be held responsible for any problems associated with the event.”

Bronaugh informed council members during public comment that he would be requesting to speak at a future council meeting in order to present a more thorough post event report from the Budafest committee.

Buda Mayor Todd Ruge lauded the Budafest committee and its collaboration with the Parks and Recreation Department in the wake of the event’s cancellation.

“I believe it’s a step in the right direction,” Ruge said. He added that he was not ruling out ideas for possible collaboration with the city for future Budafest events.

Ruge said the Budafest presentation could appear within the next couple of meetings.

“We have been hosting Budafest for 35 years and don’t want to see that end,” Bronaugh said, “We want to see Budafest continue.”

Correction: It was incorrectly reported that a letter from the Budafest Committee was sent to Buda city council members Feb. 7 prior to a post-event presentation given by Buda Tourism Director Lysa Gonzalez. The letter was sent earlier in the day Feb. 21. We apologize for the error. 

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