City Council to consider reduced Special Events Fees at Monday’s meeting

April 29, 2011
Santa Paula City Council

With a shrinking city budget and the many special events Santa Paula is home to, the City Council will be asked to consider a compromise on service fees.

The council will have a public hearing on proposed new fees at the May 2 meeting.

Historically the city has acted as co-sponsor and absorbed about $150,000 annually for in kind services for an array of special events staged by nonprofits, ranging from the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular and the annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival to Hot Summer Jazz & Arts to the Citrus Festival. With the General Fund running at a projected deficit, the council ordered that the city no longer provide free services for events staged by nonprofits.

Such events often have a domino effect: they draw visitors who spend money at local restaurants and gas stations or who just tell others all that Santa Paula has to offer. Events in Santa Paula have also been garnering more and more press coverage that shines a positive light on the city.

The council has shown signs of cracking under the new rule since they were publicly approached by the 4th of July Fireworks committee regarding fees. At the February 7 meeting the council asked that the fee schedule be examined after Police Chief Steve MacKinnon, who was sitting in for City Manager Jaime Fontes, told the council that fees had been reduced to draw film companies and reduced rates could also be considered for nonprofits.

Public events rely on the city to provide public safety with police and fire personnel as needed, workers to close streets and place barricades and prepare permits, among other services. Monday’s public hearing will review new proposed fees under the heading of Special Events.

According to the notice of hearing, Special Event’s Flat Fees being proposed are Police Officer, $55 per hour; Public Works Maintenance Worker $44 per hour; Fire Fighter $49 per hour; Community Services Department Facility Maintenance Worker $44 per hour; Community Services Department Facility Attendant $25 per hour; Community Services Department Park Monitor $28 per hour; and Planning Department Planner $57 per hour. There is also a 25 percent Personnel Deposit being proposed.

The council has grown used to providing services over the years and it’s obvious change is not easy: at the April 18 meeting Vice Mayor Bob Gonzales asked City Manager Jaime Fontes if he had received a communication from Isbell Middle School regarding providing police officers at the upcoming promotion ceremony. When Fontes confirmed he had, “ we’re have a police presence at the ceremony at no cost to the district,” said Gonzales. “It’s going to either be greatly reduced or no cost,” said Fontes.

Anyone who has questions about the proposed Special Events fee schedule is asked to contact Interim Community Services Director Ed Mount at 933-4226 ext. 352.

The May 2 council meeting will be televised live on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 or online at the city’s website. The meeting will be rerun on cable television according to schedule and archived for later viewing on the city’s website.

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