OSWEGO, NY – Members of the Common Council have taken exception to comments made on social media regarding requests for certain special events.
Council President Eric VanBuren spoke briefly prior to the start of Monday’s committee meetings regarding issues some people have with the council’s special events policy.
Posts, that are inflammatory, have been made on social media in an attempt to get the council to react, he said.
“You can take whatever stance you like on social media,” he said, adding that if you have a problem with the council – come to the council and discuss things.
The request to hold the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade was withdrawn by the event’s organizer at the last council meeting. Issues with the council, and one councilor in particular, as well “additional fees” were cited.
The organizer then shared their complaints on Facebook.
In part, they posted: “After a year now with fighting with our current common council regarding fees and application processes we just realized that it wasn’t worth continuing the fight.”
They were presented with several options regarding what they could do to resolve the problem, VanBuren said.
“In the end, they chose to take their stance and withdraw the request. The council articulately described what the issues were during the meeting that the event was pulled,” he said. “After that, it is out of the council’s hands.”
The council has no ability to put it back on if someone wants it pulled, he explained.
He believes the council would like to have the organizers re-submit the request.
He has submitted a request to the city’s Ethics Committee to review the entire situation.
“Hopefully, that will set a precedent for the future,” he said.
Oswego County Today has reached out to the organizer for a comment but was unable to connect late Monday night.
Council Fine Tunes Special Events Policy
Councilors continued discussion Monday night regarding the special events policy and hope to have it ready for a vote at the next council meeting.
Discussion on the strategy began several months ago, Councilor Nate Emmons pointed out. Talks have included department heads like the chief of police, fire chief and others, he said.
The plan is to streamline the process in a fair and equitable way for everyone.
The policy deals with deadlines to submit an application for a special event, insurance needs, fees (including for things like fire, police and DPW assistance), and more.
The council will need to determine whether to charge regular time or overtime rates for events.
It is a grey area, Justin Rudgick, community development director, agreed.
The council has to take into account things like DPW cleaning up after an event, road closures, and pavilion rentals for a full day or just a part of the day, he said.
The policy will head to the council floor for a final vote.