Future of Purdy Festival in jeopardy

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Partnering to secure tax exempt status proves insufficient

Changes are coming in the leadership of the annual Purdy Festival.

Attempts to repeat past years' cooperative efforts have become too complicated to continue.

Alderman Bo Prock told city council members that organizers are seeking to form a committee to continue the annual community event. Organizers with the Purdy Renewal Project (PRP) hoped to operate the festival as a not-for-profit entity, and had previously fallen under the non-profit umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks as an affiliate.

However, according to Purdy School Superintendent Steven Chancellor, who was acquainted with the organization's efforts, the affiliate status proved inadequate for supporting a long-term venture. The group found nothing short of setting up its own 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation would meet their needs. As an option last year, organizers approached the city to use the municipal tax exempt status.

"They found there's no way to do it legally," Prock said. "The PRP wanted to take it on but they can't. They either have to find help or back off having the Purdy Festival."

Preparing paperwork to file for tax-exempt status and receiving approval by summer seemed unlikely.

"We can talk to legal counsel again," said Mayor Steve Roden. "We didn't feel comfortable taking charge of their money and tax money. Tell them we'll look and go from there."

The Purdy Festival has run in July since 2012, using the city park and school district facilities for its events. It replaced the previous community barbecue hosted by the Purdy Lions Club after that organization became inactive.

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