Officials near agreement to keep Bike Week in Sandusky

City commissioners and a festival organizer are inching toward an agreement to keep Ohio Bike Week in Sandusky for the foreseeable future.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 25, 2011


City commissioners and a festival organizer are inching toward an agreement to keep Ohio Bike Week in Sandusky for the foreseeable future.

A financial roadblock, however, is detouring the deal’s completion.

Advantage Entertainment — Ohio Bike Week’s organizing entity — proposed a five-year agreement with city commissioners in late September.

The deal included Advantage committing $10,000 a year for the next five years to offset the city’s expenses for police security, fire rescue and street department workers assisting in the party’s setup. Commissioners refused to agree to the deal, many of them insisting on more of an up-front commitment from Advantage.

In 2011, Ohio Bike Week cost the city $19,000. But the benefits reaped from the festival are a huge gain to the city, Advantage president Steve Ernst said.

“The event has an economic impact far exceeding the (cost) contribution,” Ernst said.

But while Ohio Bike Week boosts the city’s income from sales and lodging taxes, commissioners say they need more money so taxpayers are spared from paying the difference.

Ernst upped his offer to $15,000 Monday, but city officials were still uneasy.

City finance director Hank Solowiej wants Advantage to pony up at least $17,500.

Depending on the amount agreed upon, taxpayers would be responsible for paying the difference.

For instance: If Ohio Bike Week’s downtown Sandusky portion costs $20,000 next summer, Advantage would commit $17,500 and taxpayers would pay $2,500.

“I’m a little uncomfortable,” commissioner Dick Brady said. “I’m OK with fixing a price, but I don’t think you fix a price at less (money) than what it costs. To me, that doesn’t make sense.”

Ernst said he’ll continue discussing the figures with city commissioners John Hamilton and Pervis Brown to finalize the deal.


Good 2 B Me

Maybe if we could get Mr Ernst off of this event, it would be good. Terrible musical acts and horrible turn out this year, yet they claimed to have a great time and make tons of money!

Vendors might tend to disagree.



Maybe its me (and i didn't watch the video, so...) but it sounds like the headline doesn't match the story... it kinda sounds like they aren't close to a deal, since Ernst doesn't wanna pay up and the city is (for once!) standing up and asking for a fair shake. Kinda misleading.


Mr. Ernst needs to take the offer and run with it.  He could be paying the whole thing.  He is worried about his budget, what about the city's budget.  The city shouldn't be picking up any of this expense.  I think the city should get smart and regionalize this project with all who benefit from it.  Contracts are coming up so how do you think this looks to police and fire, that the city can pick up this expense and can't give the union any money.    


It's a business negotiation, it's not in Earnst's business best interest to get the best deal from the city.  He has the option of pulling the event out of Sandusky and taking all then revenue with him somewhere else.  Then how much complaining would everybody be doing then?  The event brings in alot more in tax revenue than the $2500 differnce they reported that the "tax payers" would have to foot the bill for.  I'll guarantee if Sandusky doesn't want to help with some of the cost, another town will.  Maybe Huron LMAO


Why don't they just negotiate with Perkins Twp., and eliminate the city?

This does seem about right for the city though.  Chase out a highly profitable event for $2,500 bucks.  We blow more than that on commissioner benefits in a week.

Sign the contract already.


Let's not be so quick to sign anything.  The costs this year for primarily police protection came to $19,000.   If a multiple year contract is to be brokered, the minimum amount should be no less than $19,000.   If costs increase during years 2, 3, 4, and 5, the contract between the city and Advantage Entertainment should reflect those increases.   A five year agreement at $17,500 per year is not in the best interest of the city.


Just hire Hillbillys to patrol.  No wages just free drinks.  If anyone gets out of control just shoot them.

Dick Tracey

Hey Steve, why don't you hire Mel Burns and his Warthog buddies to be in charge of secruity?

Forget trying to negotiate with the city.

Mel could use the money, he is unemployed, and he is not intimidated by scarey bikers.


Twosense is right.  There will be cost increases during the five years.  Mr. Ernst can go somewhere else but he knows a good deal when he sees it.  All you have to do is threaten you are going to pull out and he gets what he wants. He will not get an offer in any other city like the one he is getting now because Sandusky is wreckless when it comes to giving away tax dollars.  All the other cities know better then to extend a deal lik the one Sandusky is extending to Bike Week.  Some people think Sandusky is some kind of bank to come and withdraw money at anytime.  


I have no love of the bikers running through the town.  That said, I find it unconsionable the City residents should have to underwrite any of the cost in year one, two, et al.  If City businesses enjoy the additional revenue generated from bike week and there is impasse with the contractor, then find a way to access the business for the difference, not the taxpayer. 


There are an awful lot of local beneficiaries from bike week traffic. Maybe they could help bridge the gap between the two parties?


@twosenceworth, if the cost goes up over the years,that would mean that the event is larger.  For every dollar the taxpayers spend on the event, they probably get it back ten fold in tax revenue.  Just about every business in Sandusky and Perkins is loaded with bikers spending money.  When you live in an area where the economy is based on tourism, you have to take the tourist with it.  And you can bet that other cities would see the financial benefit of hosting bike week.  This is a business negotiation, that's all it is.  Every party involved (Sandusky & Advantage Entertainment) are negotiating in their best interest. 


I remember all those Register "stories" of how MILLIONS were generated because of this event.  I believe the FALSE amount estimated was around $60 MILLION in revenue.  SIXTY MILLION?  Have any of you seen any of that money in depressed Sandusky?  Come on!  Did they spend it shopping at the Sandusky Morgue? (The Mall, not the Register)  Then, the Register posts stories about "How To Avoid Bike Week" and "Bike Week struggling to pay its bills."  I love to ride and if this venue brings in so much money, I am for it.  But, I have NOT seen SIXTY MILLION anywhere.  Is it really worth it?  You guys making fun of Mel Burns, you might want to remember he and his fellow Warts expects UNION scale for protection services.  You liberals created that monster.  Ha! Ha!   


I believe there is an easy solution to this funding problem.   According to the article, Steve Ernst claims that "the event has an economic impact far exceeding the (cost) contribution."   That said, it should be fairly simple for Mr. Ernst to provided documentation to the city which would prove how much of a financial impact the city actually recognizes.   A minimum $4,000 financial benefit should be reason enough to bring both parties closer together towards signing an agreement.    If this amount can be proven, the city should escrow the balance of the funds to cover current and future growth.    "Being a huge financial gain to the city" as claimed, the resident's would be off the hook entirely to make up any difference.


It would be real hard to put an exact amount on how much revenue bike week brings in.  the money is spread out throughout area businesses.  it doesn't all go to Earnst.  hotels, resteraunts, gas stations, convient stores etc. all profit from bike week.  I've never heard the 60 million dollar estimate, but if that is true, it's not like Ohio Bike Week takes in 60M, it's the communities as a whole.

Erie County Resident

To Steve Ernst, how much total revenue you percieve as creating is not the point here.

Sandusky should quote a figure of $20,000 for year 1 with an escalator clause in the contract to cover ALL expenses.

This so you'll know as you said yourself what your cost will be.

Then you can charge the people that attend your event that creates these costs. The only taxpayer that should pay any portion of this are the ones that attend your circus.

And if your threatening to take your show on the road somewhere else... C'ya later I won't lose any sleep over it as I don't like listening to these idiots using our streets as a dragway all 10 days of your "week" anyway.

local man

Just a thought - Should the new City Manager be involved with these negotiations concerning bike week.  Should she be burdened with a five year deal prior to starting her job? Why the rush to get the deal done now prior to her arrival???

BW1's picture

formeremployee: It would be real hard to put an exact amount on how much revenue bike week brings in.  the money is spread out throughout area businesses.

It's not that hard - modern business accounting software allows any well run business to compare revenues week-to-week and month-to-month.  Based on the number of bikes seen around the area during bike week, the bump in revenue should be easy to spot, and we know the rates of the bed tax, sales tax, etc.

I really don't see the issue here - no one's asking the Occupy Wall Street punks to pay for the additional police and sanitation services for which they've created a need, and they're not having any positive effect on the economies of their various target cities.

Erie County Resident, if you want government on a fee for service basis, there are a lot more compelling places to start, like charging tuition in the public schools.  If law abiding citizens are supposed to pay directly for police just because they go downtown when there's a crowd, why not have a surcharge on those who are out after dark, or on hot summer days, or other times known for an increased crime rate?