AUSTIN (KXAN) - City of Austin workers started putting up the Zilker TreeTuesday morning, just as Austin's Trail of Lights is pushing thedeadline for a mid-December start date.
That is when the city's annual two-week festival usuallystarts.
City parks staff said they are "knee-deep" in a proposal toprivatize the trail this year, due to budget cutbacks.
The city council could have voted on the proposal this week, butcity staff is still not ready to present the proposal to thecouncil, Austin Parks Events Manager Jason Maurer said.
Maurer would not provide a timeline on when the proposal mightbe ready for the city council's approval.
"It's as soon as possible," Maurer said. "We just have to makeour final recommendation."
Austin-based RoadwayProductions is the lone vendor applying to run the festival.Another was disqualified because it did not meet therequirements.
""We definitely don't want to try and reinvent the wheel," saidRoadway Productions Partner Trey Edwards. "People can expectexactly what they've gotten in years past."
That is, except for a fee.
Roadway could charge up to $5 for visitors 11 years and older.The city council approved that fee to help the city's parksdepartment shore up the budget.
""If there is a fee, I will tell you this. It's going to besomething very affordable," said Edwards. "We'll have some specialnights for people. Free nights."
Maurer said Roadway would be responsible for providing staffmembers for the event.
He also said the city would require Roadway to keep the festivalaffordable, and honor and celebrate the tradition of the trail.
The event, rated in the
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