New special event fees would bring in $384,000

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The city would collect $384,151 in special event revenues under a new fee schedule that is up for review and possible adoption by the Common Council on Tuesday.

The fees, which would take effect for 2018, reflect an approach recommended by a group of “stakeholders,” that is representatives of some of the special events that are held each year. The new approach is a retreat from a proposed imposition of a 10 percent overhead fee and makes several other changes that came out of discussions between city staff and event organizers.

The overhead fee was put on hold after complaints from groups that hold gatherings that fall under the city’s Special Events, Marches, and Public Assemblies Ordinance. The new approach would bring about in about $38,000 more than what had been proposed for 2017.

City Manager Mark Rohloff said the new schedule should be more understandable and make clear what the city is charging for and why.

The biggest change will come in new charges for equipment, which will be based on the rates set by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. To help organizers plan for these higher costs, the city will phase in the fees over four years by providing in-kind donations that will decrease over time.

Certain personnel expenses that had not been billed before would be under the new approach. These include the cost of community service officers, special operations sergeants and fire battalion chiefs who are assigned to special events.

City staff is proposing to maintain a policy of waiving special fees for block parties and parades. “Staff believes the value of continuing to promote these types of activities outweighs the costs which may fall upon the city as a whole from these events,” according to a memo signed by Rohloff and the city’s special events coordinator, Kathryn S. Snell.

Photo:  Copyright 2017 Adam Jungwirth. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  

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Miles Maguire

Miles Maguire is the author of Advanced Reporting: Essential Skills for 21st Century Journalism. He was the founding editor of the Oshkosh Community News Network, a nonprofit online news organization whose work was cited as a notable innovation in journalism in the 2005 Knight-Batten Awards. Send questions, comments and suggestions to miles.maguire@yahoo.com.

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