In an effort to save money on overtime pay, the Bishop Police Department has asked the Chamber of Commerce to consider a new route for the traditional Bishop Christmas Parade.
Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter said there are pros and cons to the suggested change and community input will be a determining factor in the decision-making process.
“In these challenging economic times, every department is looking for ways to cut expenses,” a press release from the Chamber of Commerce states. “Believe it or not, the annual Christmas Parade in downtown Bishop represents a very significant expense to the Bishop Police Department.”
Carter has asked the Bishop Chamber to conduct a public opinion poll on the possibility of changing the parade route so it would begin on Wye Road and continue southbound behind Kmart and Vons on Spruce Street, terminating at the rear of the City Park where the parade has traditionally ended and other holiday festivities begin.
According to Carter, if the parade were to move off of Main Street/U.S. 395, the Bishop Police Department would save a large amount of money, particularly expenses related to staff overtime to man the road closures and detours.
“We expend a lot of tax money and city resources to have all-hands-on-deck for the PD to close U.S. 395 for the parade,” Carter said. “If there is a way to continue the parade with minimal financial impact, that’s what we want to do.”
Looking at it from both sides, Carter said moving the parade route off Main Street may have a negative financial impact on local businesses, as residents won’t be standing in front of shops.
On the other hand, he said some businesses may do better if Main Street is left open to transient traffic during the parade.
“We don’t have a way to measure the financial impact, that’s why we’re going to the locals to see what they think,” Carter said.
Officials are hoping to decide the fate of the parade route as soon as possible to allow local businesses and the Chamber to begin making holiday plans before winter.
“It may seem like the Christmas Parade is way ‘down the road,’” the press release from the Chamber states, “but we’re actually already getting started on plans. The definite route will need to be chosen by Sept. 1, so don’t delay – please send your comments today.”
To comment on the proposed change to the parade route, contact Carter at the Bishop Police Department at (760) 873-5823 or the Chamber of Commerce at (760) 873-8405.