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Sarasota Friday, Jul. 10, 2009 13 years ago

City to charge for special events

by: Robin Roy City Editor

In an effort to offer a balanced budget without layoffs, City Manager Bob Bartolotta is suggesting the city charge a fee for special-event permits. He warned city commissioners that there would be some backlash and that they would likely receive some negative e-mails about the proposed policy.

“It will impact these events in a big way,” Bartolotta said. “This will be controversial.”

Last year, the city issued 358 special-event permits. Bartolotta said it took 668 days of staff time to process those event permits, which equates to more than $220,000 in man-hours.

Historically, the city has only charged event organizers for police protection and trash pickup, but Bartolotta is recommending the City Commission adopt a set of fees that would recover half of the cost it absorbs to process event permits.

“We spend a lot of money issuing permits,” said Bartolotta.

The county began charging special-event fees about three years ago, and the city manager said the result is more groups are bringing their events to the city because it’s free, which costs the city more in man-hours.

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