Parade Cost Debate Continues

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez is still trying to reach a resolution with the city about how much parades and festivals should have to pay for services like police and sanitation. After a meeting with the Nutter administration yesterday, Quinones-Sanchez today sent Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison a proposal for a new policy that would limit costs for neighborhood and ethic events..

Mayor Nutter last week vetoed legislation sponsored by Quinones-Sanchez that would require the city to pay policing costs for parades and other special events. Nutter announced in 2008 that the city would start charging for police and sanitation costs related to special events, due to financial constraints. It was a controversial announcement, particularly to the city's ethnic parades like the St. Patrick's Day and Puerto Rican Day parades and the two sides have battled over determining the true costs.

In her proposal today, Quinones-Sanchez says that, based on police data, the 72 neighborhood and ethnic events in the city last year cost the city less than $200,000. That does not include the Mummer's Parade.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady has created a non-profit to help cover parade costs. That fund - the Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund - was awarded $500,000 by philanthropist H.F "Gerry" Lenfest. It will provide aid to the Mummers and ethnic parades and festivals.

Here's an excerpt from Quinones-Sanchez's proposal. You can read the full document here.

  • the City exempt the first $3,000 dollars of security costs to ensure that these neighborhood and small scale events are able to go forward. This is in addition to the 35% reduction.
  • the mid size parades who have costs exceeding $3,000 are responsible for 1/3 of their total security and sanitation bill. In this case Traditions fund is willing to provide up to $7,500 and even more based on Congressman Brady’s desire that they not pay.
  • the Mummers parade is given a fair and accurate accounting of it’s expenses, that an accurate accounting of the parades tax revenue benefit be prepared by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Bureau. The Parade organizers should only responsible for the difference between the City’s true revenue and true expenditures.

Sanchez has said she's prepared to call for a veto override if she can't make a deal. Gillison said via email that he would have no response to the proposal tonight.

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