CRESTVIEW — The city council has set an April 16 workshop to discuss establishing guidelines for granting non-profit groups’ request for free use of public facilities.
Three groups, as follows, requested use of city facilities during the meeting:
•Resident Connie Murray requested a $350 waiver to use Old Spanish Trail Park for a May 11 Lyme disease awareness fund-raiser.
•Sabu Williams, president of the NAACP’s Okaloosa County chapter, requested a $205 fee waiver to use the Crestview Community Center for an April 14 fund-raiser benefiting former council member Lily Conyers, who is ill.
•Bob Lynn, chairman of the city's Military Appreciation Recognition Celebration, requested the city contribute use of Old Spanish Trail Park and provide event insurance for the annual Armed Forces Day family event, set for May 18.
All three requests were unanimously approved after discussion, but questions about event insurance and guidelines for granting fee waivers remained. Mayor David Cadle suggested the council have a public workshop on the matter.
"I know we have no criteria and we have struggled with that," Cadle said. "If you knew just what the criteria was, it would make things much easier for you."
The council agreed and, following Gordon’s motion, unanimously approved scheduling the April 16 workshop.
The recently seated new council members and their immediate predecessors agree that all the requests so far received are worthy, but questions of how responsible stewardship of public tax money can be reconciled with supporting a cause have arisen.
At Councilman Tom Gordon’s recommendation, groups must complete a detailed request form through City Clerk Betsy Roy that affected department heads use to determine the cost to Crestview taxpayers of providing the services.
Earlier requests for free use of Old Spanish Trail Park came from local Relay for Life organizers and an area church that provides free school supplies for children during a summer event.
In some instances, groups have requested free Public Works and Recreation Department labor to provide services such as rigging banners, setting up chairs or running electricity.
Want to go?
The Crestview City Council will have a public workshop to discuss fee waivers and event insurance for non-profit organizations seeking to use city facilities. Mobile and itinerant vendor guidelines will also be discussed. The workshop will be 3-5:30 p.m. April 16 at the City Council chamber in City Hall.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.