City Coun­cil con­sid­ers fes­ti­val, pa­rade

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - ROB DEWIG rdewig@cov­

Cov­ing­ton’s al­ways been a nice place for fes­ti­vals. But now that se­cret’s out.

Last month, the City Coun­cil re­ceived enough re­quests for the Square Park to es­sen­tially shut it down this fall. One group from out of town wanted to hold a witches-themed women’s-night-out party, along with an after-dark 5K run.

The coun­cil ap­proved ev­ery­thing, although they did ask the women’s group to con­fine the 5K to the Square.

The rea­son was sim­ple: “Right now, we’re pretty wide open” when it comes to rules and reg­u­la­tions, Mayor Ron­nie John­ston said at a coun­cil work ses­sion Mon­day night.

So this Mon­day, at its reg­u­lar meet­ing, the coun­cil will con­sider event ap­pli­ca­tions and fees to at least cover the costs to city tax­pay­ers.

“We have al­ways eaten that” cost in the past, John­ston said. “You’ve got to im­pose one stan­dard for all en­ti­ties, that’s my opin­ion.”

For the past few weeks, City Man­ager Leigh Anne Knight has been work­ing with Main Street Cov­ing­ton to come up with such a stan­dard. The list pre­sented at the work­shop in­cluded ap­pli­ca­tion fees that would be col­lected by the Main Street group, and sep­a­rate fees to cover the costs of clos­ing roads and pay­ing over­time for needed po­lice of­fi­cers and city work­ers.

Knight pre­sented an ini­tial list that was whit­tled down by the coun­cil mem­bers present to the fol­low­ing. Note that noth­ing is of­fi­cial and all must be voted on at a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing.

For ap­pli­ca­tion fees, the pro­posal is for $150 to close the square, $250 to close it with up to 50 pri­vate ven­dors, and $150 for a pa­rade. Fees to cover city ex­penses would (might) be $100 to close a sin­gle road with no po­lice present, $200 if a po­lice pres­ence is needed, $250 to close the square with­out po­lice, and $1,000 to close the square with po­lice and for walks or runs re­quir­ing street clo­sures.

There would be a cost of $75 levied for da­m­ages to road bar­ri­cades, $45 to keep the city’s down­town pub­lic re­strooms open after 8 p.m., and $35 per of­fi­cer if an event lasts more than four hours.

The city’s four of­fi­cial events, in­clud­ing the Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tion, Christ­mas shop­ping around the square, and the Fuzz Run, will be ex­empted from such fees.

Other events, in­clud­ing the an­nual Christ­mas Pa­rade, might not. That re­mains to be seen.

“It’s a bal­anc­ing act, re­ally,” Coun­cil­man Keith Dal­ton said.

City at­tor­ney Ed­ward Crudup Sr. said the city shouldn’t dis­crim­i­nate in ex­empt­ing groups from pay­ing the fees. State law, he said, pro­hibits the city from is­su­ing “gra­tu­ities,” mean­ing the city can’t pay some­thing for noth­ing in re­turn. Non-prof­its, in­clud­ing churches, should not be ex­empted.

Any fees ap­proved by the coun­cil would not ap­ply un­til Jan. 1, Knight said. All per­mit­ted events, and any oth­ers ap­proved be­fore year’s end, would be ex­empted from fees.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.