Saluda Arts Festival to go on after city changes fees

Published 11:43 pm Thursday, March 11, 2010

The City of Saluda has decided to change a decision made last month to charge individual vendors for festivals that are not city sponsored after hearing objections from some community members.
Last month, the city commissioners agreed to charge what the current business license ordinance requires, a $25 permit fee for anyone selling products within city limits.
The Saluda board met Monday in a packed library meeting room full of mostly business owners interested in changing commissioners’ minds. Commissioner Johnnie Kinard recommended the business license ordinance be amended to charge only the organization running the festival.
Kinard had done some research and found that other cities and counties only charge individual vendor fees for festivals the city sponsors.
The board agreed to amend the city’s business license ordinance to reflect a $25 fee to organizations that run festivals. The Saluda Arts Festival, for example, is held in Saluda, but run by the Saluda Business Association. The new ordinance should reflect the SBA paying the city a $25 permit fee to hold the festival, then the SBA can charge individual vendors as it chooses.
“We appreciate your changing direction on that,” said SBA member Shelley DeKay. “It will enable us to continue the festival.”
The annual Coon Dog Day festival will be treated differently, since it is a city-sponsored event. The city collects individual vendor fees.
Commissioners will come back next month and consider the new language in the business license ordinance. The Saluda Arts Festival will be held downtown on May 15 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Language will also be drafted that exempts vendors selling produce from the business license fee to allow the citys farmers market to run without fees.
The SBA also agreed on Monday to not begin the market every Friday until after the buses were cleared from the parking lot. Last year there were problems with the tailgate market setting up prior to school buses leaving the city-owned lot. At one point commissioners had discussed the need to move either the bus drop off or the tailgate market from the parking lot, but the SBA has agreed to start the market at a later time, 4:30 p.m., so as not to cause any interference.
The tailgate market will begin on May 7 and run every Friday through Oct. 30.

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