Oshkosh Parks Board Rejects Special Event Fee - WBAY

Oshkosh Parks Board Rejects Special Event Fee

Oshkosh Parks Board Rejects Special Event Fee

Oshkosh -

Big events in Oshkosh held in city parks won't have to pay for shelters.

A proposal to change that policy was rejected Monday night. 

The fee generated lots of opposition. 

It would have had the most impact for organizers of Sawdust Days. 

The eight day festival is held in Menominee Park during the week of the 4th of July. 

While the festival pays about 19 thousand dollars for police and other city services organizers spoke out against having to pay for the cost of shelters and gazebo rentals.  

"You know if you keep adding a thousand dollars, a thousand dollars, a thousand dollars, just think how it would effect you in paying your bills," said Ellen Schmidt of Sawdust Days. 

The fee would have applied Sawdust Days and about four other organizations including car shows and art fairs.

It would generate about five thousand dollars for the city.  

Parks Director Ray Maurer said, "In fairness to our citizens when they want to utilize our parks and our facilities they're charged a fee, whether it's for a birthday, wedding or anniversary type event, and a lot of those larger special events which come into our parks consume those facilities or those shelters and they're not being charged at this time." 

However the proposal also called for charging the groups for every shelter in the park, even if some weren't being used.

That led the advisory parks board to vote it down. 

"We've been using the park for many, many years, and only a small portion of the park and to have to pay for the entire park seems a little bit unfair," said Joye Moon of the Oshkosh Fine Arts Association, which uses South Park for it's two day art festival. 

Moon says the fee for her group would have been about $440. 

Sawdust Days would have paid about $2100.  

While this vote was advisory the fee can still be approved by the city council during the budget deliberation process. That begins in September.

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