Victoria officials to rethink parade barricade policy

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Feb. 4, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 4, 2014 at 8:05 p.m.

After an onslaught of criticism the past two weeks, Victoria officials are rethinking their policy on lending out parade barricades.

The policy, which was in place under the former parks director, had not been enforced until November, causing some parade organizers to cancel annual events about heritage and history.

Officials said the enforcement came down to a state law, that says a government body cannot lend or give public property away without receiving something in return.

Although City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz said the payoff was civic pride and community involvement, the City Council gave a consensus Tuesday to implement a permitting process for the barricades.

The proposal includes a "nominal fee" of $25 or $50 plus a deposit on the barricades.

Parade organizers could either set the street blockades up themselves or pay an additional amount to have city staff do it.

City Manager Charmelle Garrett estimated it cost about $700 for staff to set up the equipment for parades, including overtime.

She said each barricade cost about $60 new and said the deposit should reflect that.

Councilman Andrew Young said he supports the fee.

"I don't want to prohibit groups from having a parade," he said.

During the interim, Victoria County commissioners stepped in to provide barricades for the Korean War veterans parade.

The change in policy has put at least two events back on.

Mayor Paul Polasek said in the spirit of what officials are trying to accomplish, he wants the Black History Month parade to be able to use the barricades for the event 10 a.m. Saturday.

Dian Patterson, livestock show chairwoman, said while the policy enforcement was "the straw that broke the camel's back," it was not the only reason for the recent announcement that the parade was canceled.

That parade is back on schedule for 10 a.m. Feb. 22.



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