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Council puts off vote on new fees for event permits

Brad Williams

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There is public opposition to suggested changes in fees for special events is leading to a reassessment by the La Crosse city council.

Even though the council is considering a rollback of some proposed increases in permit fees, the issue has been put off for a month, for more study.

Pearl Street Brewery owner Tami Plourde spoke to the council last week, arguing that organizers of smaller festivals would be hard-pressed to pay more than a $10 liquor license fee.

“Going from $10 to $45 is a lot,” said Plourde. “You’re gonna have a very small event, and, you know, every dollar’s gonna matter.”

Organizers of larger events have objected as well.

Speaking on behalf of Moon Tunes, former La Crosse convention bureau director Dave Clements said that a few years ago, the city transferred some room tax money away from the La Crosse Center and the CVB to the city’s general fund.

“Oktoberfest still pays $30,000-$40,000 a year for just putting on a parade that they make not a penny off of,” Clements said. “And yet the city continues to take 750,000 a year to pay for all these things, and you’re raising fees. We were lied to.”

Clements said the CVB was “lied to,” because the city claimed the change would allow festival costs to go down.

The city has been criticized for the idea of a $35 event permit, and for suggesting the fee should double if a permit is requested on short notice.