Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Taxpayers can fairly rent barricades from city

By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 16, 2014 at 1:16 a.m.

Every town has its own festivals, parades and events. These celebrations give communities their own unique flair, and Victoria is no exception.

But now, people who intend to plan a parade will have a few extra tasks and expenses before they can hit the streets. On June 3, the Victoria City Council voted unanimously to impose a $25 parade permit fee in addition to a $50 fee for the barricade rentals and a refundable $250 deposit. If any of the barricades are damaged, the cost of the damages will be taken out of the deposit. If event organizers want city personnel to put up and take down the barricades, the fee is $500, which is a little bit less than the actual cost, Assistant City Manager John Kaminski said. The city's actual costs average about $600.

No one likes the idea of new fees and expenses, but the City Council created this new policy through a decision to treat all groups fairly, Kaminski said.

"When the new parks director came in, he found some policies were not being followed consistently," he said. Some groups were allowed to use the city's barricades while others were not. By creating a fee system that applies equally to all groups, the city has taken a step to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity and access to the equipment. While we wish the Council had included an exception for nonprofit groups, we understand the desire to ensure all groups are treated fairly.

However, the barricades are only available for parades, not other private events such as 5Ks, concerts or festivals, unless they are sponsored by the city, such as Bootfest. The reason for this is simple, Kaminski said. Most of these events were already providing their own barricades by renting from private companies. Also, most of the events happen in the park, which requires only a few barricades to mark off certain areas, instead of the 50 to 60 necessary to mark off the typical downtown parade route.

Kaminski estimates that a private company would rent out the barricades for $15 each, which would amount to about $750 to $900, so even if groups paid for the city to set up and remove the barricades, they would get a better deal.

We are glad to know the city of Victoria has taken measures to ensure the rules are consistent for those who wish to use barricades for parades. Now that the rules have been clearly outlined, groups can begin budgeting the cost of renting barricades into their planning process.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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