Council to hear special event vendors ordinance

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

After several weeks of discussion, the Ironton City Council Thursday will hear the first reading of an ordinance that would regulate vendors during special events.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. at the Ironton City Center.

The proposed ordinance would mean that during special events authorized by the mayor, the hosting organization for the event would establish the fees for vendors. The vendor would pay the fee to the hosting organization, according to the proposed ordinance.

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The proposed ordinance also indicates that during special events, the new ordinance would supercede other city ordinances relating to vendors.

According to definitions outlined in the ordinance, a special event is any pre-designated event determined by the mayor and a hosting organization is an organization authorized by the mayor to put on a special event.

Discussion about proposed rule change has caused higher than usual attendance and heated debate among audience members at council committee meetings.

The public utilities met twice last week to revise the proposed ordinance. During the last meeting Wednesday, the committee, led by Chairman Mike Lutz, nixed another version of the proposed ordinance. That version would have required vendors who set up on private property to pay a $1,500 vendors fee to the City of Ironton. Vendors who sell from city property would have had to pay the hosting organization whatever fee it required.

Lutz called the previous version of the ordinance too complicated and said Tuesday that the new version, which he sponsored, is simpler.

The proposed ordinance came about when civic organization Friends of Ironton asked the city for protection from vendors sell outside the parameters of events like Rally on the River without paying the organization a vendors fee.

Friends representatives have argued that Rally on the River costs around $200,000 and that all the money the organization makes it puts back into the community with projects like the city’s Splash Park and the restoration of the Ro-Na Theatre.

Some opponents of the ordinance have argued, among other things, that the rule change could keep vendors from setting up altogether during the events and that the organizations’ fees are too high.

Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting is a discussion of a tabled ordinance that would award a $370,000 contract to E.L. Robinson to cover engineering costs for the city’s manhole rehabilitation project.

At its July 14 regular meeting, council tabled the ordinance instead of giving it a third reading. The council discussed the ordinance at a committee meeting last week.