LIVERMORE -- Tough economic times mean the city won't be forking out money to host the Amgen Tour of California next year.
The tour is considered the premier cycling event in the United States, attracting some of the biggest names in the sport. Livermore has been a start and finish point for legs in the race the past two years, and it has applied to be a host city once again in 2013.
But at a City Council meeting earlier this month, the council voted 4-0 not to set aside $100,000 to support the 2013 race if selected as a host city.
"We're running a structural deficit," Councilman Stewart Gary said at the Oct. 22 meeting. "We told the citizens they had to totally raise the money for the (Fourth of July) fireworks. We've cut back on school crossing guards. We've barely found the funds to add back some police officers to the budget."
The council canceled its city-funded Fourth of July fireworks show in 2011, but the fireworks returned last summer when a group of residents raised about $60,000 to cover costs.
The $100,000 requested by city staff for hosting the Amgen Tour would have paid for hotel rooms for race participants, meals, portable toilets and other event-related expenses.
"The council wants a partnership for all its events, much like the partnership we had for the Fourth of July event," assistant city manager Troy Brown said. "Livermore is coming through one of the most financially difficult times in recent history.
Livermore was a pass-through city for the tour last year and the finish line for Stage 3. The tour attracted about 20,000 people to the downtown for the finish. Hotels were full, and business was up at many restaurants and bars.
About 10,000 people came out in 2011 when Livermore was the starting point for Stage 4. The event that year brought in about $3,500 to the city in hotel taxes and earned local businesses about $500,000, according to Economic Development Director Rob White. White said the intense media coverage of the event was worth about $200,000 in publicity for Livermore.
The Amgen Tour is owned by AEG Sports. Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG Sports, said the host cities for the 2013 event will be announced within the next 30 days. He said it is company policy not to comment on any city until the announcements are made.
Brown said Amgen organizers have communicated a strong interest in returning to Livermore despite the cancellation of the subsidy.
Gary said Wednesday that if Amgen were to select Livermore to host a leg of the tour, the city would provide police, fire and public works services.
Mayor John Marchand was absent from the Oct. 22 meeting while traveling in Russia.
"I believe there is a significant local and regional benefit for the Amgen Tour to come through," he said Wednesday. "We're continuing to negotiate with Amgen. I believe that we can work with our community partners and sponsors to come to a solution."
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney.