Call it backing away from a political landmine. Or maybe cooler heads prevailing. It really does not matter. The end result is the same.
This week, Bob Myers, city manager, circulated a plan for how the city could deal with event fees. Basically, it means the city would not charge event organizers fees if their event is defined as a "community event." Those big events downtown we hold so dear — the car show, Taste Of Newton and the United Way Chili Cook Off — would avoid nearly all the fees on a proposed schedule circulated about two weeks ago.
When we say nearly all, we mean that those events would not pay for the closure of streets (proposed $100 per block for downtown), barricades and a host of other expenses listed. For some events, those fees would have ran more than $1,000. Some events would cease to exist, ending more than one party in downtown.
However, if the event serves alcohol, there would be fees and required fencing and permits. If providers other than the city can put up and take down that fencing remains to be seen — but organizations will investigate that.
Myers came up with a good, workable solution. One that should get support from the commission and has it from us. We only want to put one caveat out there — if these fees are not charged, it will be taxpayers who pay for city staff to perform the tasks needed to put up barricades, deliver trash cans, deliver picnic tables and other services needed for those events.
We're OK with that, but we believe that needs to be remembered.
With a vote by the commission the waiver system, and the fee system, can be a reality. After that, it's party on.
— Kansan editorial board