Hotbox Farms founder and co-owner Steven Meland at the concert Saturday. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
ONTARIO – The city of Ontario is seeking more than $15,000 in reimbursement after thousands of people converged on Ontario for a last-minute free concert earlier this month performed by national rap artist Snoop Dogg as a grand opening event for Hotbox Farms.
City Manager Adam Brown told the Enterprise that he met with Hotbox founder and co-owner Steven Meland to discuss the city’s costs incurred as a result of the concert. Ontario officials said they didn’t learn of the event until the day before Snoop Dogg hit the stage.
Hotbox obtained permits for fireworks, food catering and a beer garden but had not been granted a special events permit or a noise variance, the city said in a statement.
Brown said that Hotbox applied for a special events permit as required by city ordinance the day before the Snoop Dogg concert, but because the application was made on such short notice, the city denied it.
“It put us in a vulnerable position,” Brown said of the event.
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Brown said in an email that the city has finalized a number for the cost of the city’s incident management response to Hotbox Farms grand opening.
“Steven Meland met with me, at my request, the week after the event and after our cordial conversation, agreed to pay whatever costs the city incurred so that the taxpayers of Ontario did not have to take on those costs,” Brown wrote.
The city was also prepared to seek payment of fines for putting on an unauthorized event, but after coming to an agreement with Meland, decided to only seek the reimbursement.
“We felt it was in the city’s best interest to recoup our costs as opposed to the $2,000 fines. Yes, we could have gone after both, but with Mr. Meland willing to cover our costs it was more important for the city to collect the costs uncontested,” Brown said.
Itemized invoices prepared by the city show $7,642 for the Ontario Police Department, including overtime for 11 officers and commanders and $5,088 for the Ontario Fire Department, including overtime for seven employees.
The city also hired Great Basin Aerial Imaging of Notus, Idaho, for drone surveillance of the event at a cost of $2,497, including $150 an hour for a drone pilot.
News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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