City council: Farmers market won't get event fees waived
JANESVILLE Janesville City Council members on Monday stressed support for the Janesville Farmers Market but declined to waive special event fees for it.
The council recently established a narrow set of criteria for waiving fees for organizations holding events, although the policy does allow the council to consider exceptions. Previously, council members considered each request separately, and some complained the decisions were inconsistent.
The council has waived the fee for the market since 2006. The fee in 2011 includes a $550 event fee and $832 equipment fee.
"We understand the timing is not in our best interest," Lucy Anderson, farmers market board member, said. "However, it (the market) has always been a positive and forward move for the revitalization of downtown Janesville, and we are in hopes that you could continue with that support."
Councilman Russ Steeber said the council is "stuck between a rock and a hard spot" because the city is faced with a budget that is "somewhat overwhelming."
"You guys have done a phenomenal job, but right now I don't think our timing is very good, either," he said.
Councilman Frank Perrotto asked whether the market is now accepting all vendors who apply, and he was assured it is. The former market manager had turned away some applicants if she believed the goods were already represented.
Perrotto noted the market had its best year financially last year.
"What I am personally looking for is true hardship," he said. "I don't see that here."
Councilman Bill Truman said he couldn't support a waiver because he wished he could give one to all groups who organize events that attract people to the city.
Councilman Tom McDonald said he was glad the council was standing by its policy and being more consistent.
"We still support the farmers market," McDonald said.
Only Councilman Yuri Rashkin voted to waive the fee.
"I think we need to support things that are doing good in our community, and few things do it better than the farmers market," he said.
Rashkin supported levying an equipment fee but forgiving the event fee.
Council President Kathy Voskuil noted the market is open Saturdays in May through October.