We're glad that Crescent City and fairgrounds officials plan discussing who has jurisdiction over what at the facility. There are concerns on both sides about a variety of issues, such as how city law enforcement should handle fights and underage drinking in parking lots.
It's also quite reasonable - as Crescent City wants - that the 41st District Agricultural District, which oversees the fairgrounds, apply for city use permits so varying events can be held there.
That may seem like nothing more than shifting money from one government body's ledger to another's account book. But it's hardly that.
Simply put, the fairgrounds are within the city limits. Because of that, the city ought to have a voice in determining the types of events occurring at the fairgrounds. The city should be able to prevent an event from occurring the following year because of city ordinance violations, such as for noise or failure to properly collect sales taxes.
Of course, if the city requires that the fairgrounds obtain a temporary use permit for events, that very well could mean the agricultural district will have to pay an application fee. This fee covers the cost of city staff to review the application, and usually is about $150 for a large event. Someone needs to pay for the staff to do its job, after all, and with any other event it's not the taxpayer but the event organizer. In any case, the fee hardly is a hit on fairgrounds revenues.
Still, two cautionary notes to the city: Use permits shouldn't be about canceling events that hit the municipal budget. For example, some fairgrounds events result in the city paying jail booking fees because people are arrested for fights and underage drinking. The city by far garners more dollars than it loses when an event is held at the fairgrounds, if only because people stop at local businesses where they purchase items, generating tax revenue for city coffers.
Men and women of good conscience could simply hammer out an understanding over handling these matters. But where government bodies are concerned, specific processes are needed to ensure all sides are protected and that there is transparency in decision making. So far, the city doesn't have much protection, and coming to an arrangement that doesn't guarantee an open process would mean no transparency.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Should the city require use permits? .