Crestview City Council: 'No' to nonprofit's free community center use

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 04:58 PM.

CRESTVIEW — After traveling down what city attorney Jerry Miller has called a "slippery slope" of granting free use of city facilities to non-profit organizations, the City Council finally said "no."

Encouraged by the regular waiver of facilities fees for other non-profits, the Okaloosa County Farm Bureau requested fees be waived for its annual membership meeting and dinner at the Crestview Community Center.

Part of the statewide Florida Farm Bureau, the organization's mission is "to increase the net income of farmers and ranchers, and to improve the quality of rural life," according to its website.

The organization has previously paid as much as $670 to rent the community center for its annual dinner.

In recent months the council has waived fees for organizations including churches, Relay for Life and the NAACP for use of city facilities such as the Old Spanish Trail Park amphitheatre, Warriors Hall and the community center.

Under questioning by Councilman Shannon Hayes, Okaloosa Farm Bureau President Keith Free said the meeting and dinner were not open to the public.

While he said 95 percent of the attendees would be from Okaloosa County, Free could not say how many of the expected 300 attendees were Crestview residents.

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