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Monday, Mar 30, 2015

City to again waive event fees

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:35 PM

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Organizers can once again try their luck at dodging having to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars in fees to put on city events.

By a unanimous vote, Brooksville City Council members approved a policy that outlines criteria necessary for waiving all or part of fees owed to the city to put on the event.

That criteria includes that events must be in the city limits, benefit the community and be open to the public — with a preference for it to be free to attendees.

Other criteria that make the fee waiver request more likely to be approved would be for the event to promote education, public health or safety or provide a service and be organized by a nonprofit.

They added that fees wouldn't be waived for political events.

Money available to cover the fee waiver will also be a factor. Currently $7,000 is budgeted for that purpose pending approval of the policy.

Following the vote, council members then put the policy into practice by unanimously approving to waive $2,065 in fees for the annual Brooksville Cycling Classic, salted for Saturday and Sunday.

Last year, council members voted 3-2 to end granting waivers for special events with Bradburn and Councilman Frankie Burnett voting against the measure. They again voiced opposition to eliminating waivers this year.

At that time, City Council Member Kevin Hohn argued the council was showing favoritism to some groups and not others. He said he would only support granting waivers again if a policy was put in place to help dictate which groups should be granted financial assistance for their events.

Hohn said Tuesday that the new policy allowed the council to fairly decide which events benefitted the city economically while also offering assistance to events more specifically geared toward residents, such as the homecoming, Christmas and Veteran's parades.

"I think now everybody is on the same page and has a good understanding of what we're looking for when folks are coming in and requesting these waivers," Hohn said.

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