The Brighton City Council had a fierce discussion with local civic events leaders Thursday night in regards to proposed fees for civic events next year.

Among the points of contention are the proposed $300 fee for a half-day's use and $500 for a full-day’s use of the new Mill Pond band shell and amphitheater, which some say is too high, including Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pam McConeghy and Dennis Dimoff of the Brighton Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the highly popular summer Mill Pond band concerts.

McConeghy and Dimoff say the proposed new fee structure, including the amount proposed to be charged for police and DPW services, is excessive, and Dimoff said the proposal to postpone action on the fee schedule until next March would essentially mean no concert season next summer.

With about 16 civic events during the year, Brighton officials say it costs the city about $94,000 in police and DPW costs, use of vehicles and equipment, electrician services and supplies to host the events. Popular civic events include A Taste of Brighton, the Fine Art and Acoustic Music Festival and the Smokin’ Jazz & Barbecue Blues Festival, among others.

Initially, council was prepared to pass the proposed fee schedule, but Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Pipoly said it would be unfair to local businesses to take action immediately because Thursday night was the annual Ladies’ Night Out in Brighton – which is the biggest shopping event of the year, and most merchants were at their stores tending to their businesses. He said that the input of local businesses was necessary before making a decision, and, as a result, council decided to table the matter.

Council Member Jon Emaus urged that the matter be taken up again for a decision in the very near future. Mayor Jim Muzzin said a possibility for partial funding for the civic events might be via the Downtown Development Authority, saying he would make the request for a $30,000 contribution at the next DDA meeting on Dec. 18th.

In their defense, city officials say they have no choice but to institute a new fee schedule in light of major budget problems. They say as a result, the city is seriously considering what was called “deep” staff cuts – which would include cutbacks in police dept. and DPW personnel, and another millage request in May. (TT)