City Passes Flat Fee System For Parades And Festivals
By JENNA CARLESSO
July 12, 2011
Organizers of parades, festivals and other events will now be charged flat fees to cover the cost of police, permits and other city services.
The city has discontinued a longstanding practice of granting fee waivers in favor of collecting fees up front for special events.
The new requirement lowers costs for organizers, but enforces payment, city council members said. In the past, some organizers have been unable to pay their share of an event's cost, sticking the city with the expense.
The council adopted the new plan Monday.
Organizers had been required to pay at least half the costs associated with their events. The city covered the remainder. Most costs associated with an event, such as the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, are related to police services.
Under the new plan, event organizers pay a fixed price to hold festivals, parades, carnivals or other activities on city streets or in parks. For example, a parade that occupies up to two arterial streets, or half a mile, would cost $10,000. A parade taking up five arterial streets, or 1½ miles, would cost $20,000.
One-day festivals involving 100 or fewer people would be free, as long as the organizers don't charge admission. One-day festivals that include between 100 and 1,000 people but don't charge admission would cost $1,000.
The flat fees cover police and public works services and permit costs. With organizers paying a set fee, the city would be responsible for monitoring police overtime costs.
No fee waivers will be granted under the new system. The city previously offered an option to waive up to 50 percent of the fees associated with an event.
Council members said that in many cases, the flat fees are less than the costs organizers used to pay.
"I think it's a good solution," said Councilman Kenneth Kennedy, who first suggested the idea. "What I've heard from the community has been positive. We tried to be very comprehensive in our approach."
Kennedy said the goal was to ease the financial burden on event organizers while ensuring that the city collects its money.
As part of the new system, event organizers will be charged a $50 late fee for filing a permit application less than 60 days before an event.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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