CRESTVIEW — The City Council has denied free use of Old Spanish Trail Park facilities for a local mother organizing a fund-raiser to buy cameras for county school buses.
Tina Bannon asked the council for free use of the park pavilion and walking path for the March 8 event, which would include a vendor fair and walkathon.
Without city support, Bannon said she would have to pay the $250 facility rental fee herself.
City Councilman Mickey Rytman sympathized with Bannon and her Parents Together Okaloosa County organization. He asked city attorney Jerry Miller if the city could "co-sponsor" Bannon's event through waiver of the facility rental fees.
"It's a political decision for you but you're going to have consistency issues if you get into waiving," Miller said. "You're fundamentally using your tax dollars for a particular purpose."
Under Miller's counsel, council members have resisted recent requests for facility fee waivers to avoid establishing a precedent.
Council President Robyn Helt suggested Bannon use an area school's facilities "since it will benefit the school board," but Bannon said people are more accustomed to attending such events at Old Spanish Trail Park.
Councilman Shannon Hayes asked what problems have warranted the three-camera system on each school bus.
Bannon allegedy her daughter has fallen out of her seat at least twice when the bus driver braked unexpectedly, and once was punched by another student.
Cameras would support or debunk students' claims of poor driving skills and would provide evidence of student misbehavior on the buses, Bannon said.
Nearly $200,000 is needed to equip all county school buses with cameras, Bannon said. The school board and Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley have pledged funds toward installing the cameras.
Rytman's motion for the city to cosponsor Bannon's event failed when no second was offered.