Friday, June 13, 2014

Council Seeks Expenses for Special Events

Municipal Code "Special event means carnivals (limited to the operation of ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, whips, automatic rides or devices mounted on trucks), circuses, menageries, motion pictures, and outdoor festivals and tent shows."

The recent proliferation of downtown festivals has raised new issues for government, one being costs associated with having thousands of visitors streaming in. An ordinance amending the rules for special events would provide for reimbursement to the city.

If the proposed changes are approved, a special events license holder would have to "bear all municipal costs" for police, fire, health and public works expenses associated with an event. The City Clerk, in consultation with the appropriate department heads, would estimate the cost after granting of a license but before the event. The applicant would then be asked to provide a certified check for the estimated costs no later than 10 days before the first day of the event.

The funds would be held in escrow and any balance returned to the license holder. In case the funds were not sufficient, the license holder would have 30 days to pay the balance. If the clerk does not receive the certified check 10 days in advance, the license shall be considered forfeited. The proposed new fees are "separate and apart" from any fee for the license itself.

Special events would be limited to no more than three days and would have to close by 11 p.m. each day.

A somewhat controversial part is that applicants, except for governmental and related agencies, would be limited to one special event per year. Last year, two nightclub owners wanted more than one event each. One held celebrations for both the United States and Central American Independence Days. The other wanted a rodeo in addition to a Central American Independence Day celebration, but the rodeo plan did not even get put up for a vote. While presented as cultural events, the celebrations have been perceived as commercial enterprises by some residents and have generated noise complaints for amplified music.

The ordinance is up for first reading Monday at the regular City Council meeting, 8 p.m. in Municipal Court.



  1. That shows how confused I can get with all the talk by Councilors. I was under the impression that after Rivers, Taylor and Greaves objected to the one event limitation the consensus was not to place it on the agenda. Glad to know I "mis-heard".

    1. I heard right, but it will be on the agenda as an add on item which takes a yes vote to be acted upon.

  2. I don't think this goes up for 1st reading Rev Brown also voted no!!!!!!!

  3. The city should come up with expenses because these festivals come and take 100,000 in those three days. They need more expenses so that can help out with our taxes. And it is sad to say they use a non-profit organization to make this event.

  4. The city of Elizabeth has expenses of up to $80,000 just to do a festival. They are more realistic with the expenses because they know the money that is made. These people should be put a stop to with their annual celebrations and not pay expenses that should be paid.

  5. The promoters of these events need to pay all expenses and not have the city pay anything. With all the talk in the Council worrying about money for this and that, we need to make people pay for the services they use from the city. These events put little money into Plainfield's economy so we aren't really getting much benefit from them, so they should pay. Let's see if the Council is concerned about all city expenses or just those that the Administration needs to move us forward.