Some council members not interested in a Christmas lighting contest

Elk River Mayor John Dietz has broached the idea of the city possibly starting a Christmas lighting contest next year, but some council members have a dim view of the suggestion.
Council Member Paul Motin was not interested in the city sponsoring such a contest, citing the separation of church and state.
Council Member Jerry Gumphrey said it’s a waste of electricity.
“What are you trying to get out of this?” Gumphrey asked Dietz.
“Just some goodwill,” Dietz replied. He said he’s seen other cities have similar contests.
Dietz had brought up the idea during a council work session Jan. 9, asking if the city was interested in starting a Christmas lighting contest for homes and yards. He envisions it as a joint effort between the Elk River Parks and Recreation Commission and Elk River Municipal Utilities (ERMU). There would be first, second and third place winners with prizes of $100, $75 and $50. The city and ERMU would split the cost of the prizes, which would be taken off the winners’ electric bills.
There was no move by the council, however, to proceed with the idea.
Motin said he doesn’t think it’s a city function and suggested having the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce run the contest instead.