The city lost $34,402.66 overall on the in 2011, according to a report City Manager Kenneth Filipiak gave to City Council Tuesday afternoon.
That counts $14,000 the city spent on wages and another $23,000 it spent on overtime -- most of which went to public works employees, policemen and firemen.
This is the first year the city of Mentor took employee expenses into account when considering how much it spends on the festival.
"I think you'd find the numbers in 2011 would be similar to past years if we gathered the same information," Filipiak said.
While neither the City Council nor administration want to stop supporting the 3-day festival, both groups are interested in finding ways to improve it and to get more for the city's money.
Filipiak and members of City Council mentioned other concerns about It's Better In Mentor Days during a work session Tuesday afternoon at City Hall. Filipiak noted that the property tends to suffer a lot of damage during the festival because of foot traffic.
He added that repairs to the property were more expensive than usual in 2011.
Council Vice President Ray Kirchner expressed a general weariness with the festival's approach to entertainment.
"I think we need to come up with a new direction," he said. "The feedback I've gotten is it's the same old carny rides and the same old carny food. It's tired."
George Maier, the co-chair on the festival committee, said a lot of money comes in from the foods and ride.
"When the festival was first started 33 years ago, we intentionally didn't want that carnival atmosphere," Maier said. "But the rides pay for a good portion of the festival."
According to Filipiak's report, the rides generated $15,000. The food made another $10,000.
However, Maier added that he was not opposed to improving the festival.
"I think we're all in favor of revitalizing It's Better In Mentor," he said. "We've been attempting to do that over the years."
A Taste Of It's Better In Mentor
One of the suggested changes is to combine It's Better In Mentor with the event, which celebrates and promotes local restaurants.
"With all the restaurants we have in the city, I'm sure all these people would like to get their names out there," Kirchner said.
On the City of Mentor's Facebook page, the administration asked people if they would like to see Taste of Mentor combined with IBIM. One resident, Richard Thiedemann, replied that he thought Taste of Mentor might get lost in the shuffle with all the other festivities.
Thiedemann and other residents suggested hosting the event at or even if the were looking for a change of location.
Also speaking about food at the festival, David Bobeczko -- the owner of East Coast Custard -- attended the Council's work session. He said he brought his business's custard trucks to several festivals around the area but he always had difficulty with IBIM.
"I've met resistance for six years, trying to participate in the festival," he said.
Kevin Malecek, the CEO of the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce, said he was in favor of any changes to the festival if they helped local businesses.
"I think we'd be interested in anything that promotes businesses in the community," Malecek said.
Malecek is also the City Council President for Willoughby Hills. He said Willoughby Hills recently revamped its corn festival. He suggested Mentor City Council allow 2012 to be a year of transition while preparing something new for 2013.
City Council concluded the discussion on IBIM by appointing a committee to discuss possible changes. The committee is comprised of Kirchner, Maier and Ward 2 Councilwoman Carolyn Bucey.