For future South Miami events, some organization expenses may be reduced. .
By unanimous vote on Jan. 20, city commissioners waived reimbursement of fees and costs for future special events on city property, if deemed appropriate.
Previously, waivers were granted by resolutions and never codified as regular policy. The new ordinance permanently approves use of city facilities for worthwhile events.
City Attorney Thomas F. Pepe who authored the ordinance said it would answer challenges to city manager charges for use of South Miami parks.
“In the past, the city by resolution has waived fees for certain special events,” explained Atty. Pepe. “However, those resolutions really should have been in the form of an ordinance, and those waivers should [have been] done on a separate basis, as each event came forward.”
Passing the ordinance waives fees for charitable events such as the South Miami Art Festival and the South Miami Hospital Twilight 5K Run, hosted by Huseby’s TeamFootWorks, founded by South Miami running icon John Huseby.
“When John Huseby died, everybody wanted to permit us to close Sunset Drive to have a memorial for him but we had this resolution on the way,” commented Mayor Phillip Stoddard.
Stoddard noted that large visiting crowds during events like the Twilight 5K Run bring profit to the city and local businesses, to the point where South Miami parking meters are shut down. “Big events run by nonprofits are regularly given special consideration,” he added.
Addressing the subject before passage, Architect Marice Chael, president of South Miami Neighbors dedicated to uplifting the city, had abandoned meetings at City Hall and was forced to meet at member homes “to grow membership and grassroots advocacy.” The new ordinance opens a possibility for free use of a city venue in which South Miami Neighbors could meet regularly.