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City Seeks Ordinance For Community Evens
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Monday night's Escalon City Council meeting will include a chance for residents to comment on a draft ordinance being put together to offer some regulations for community events.

There are a number of gatherings staged in the city throughout the year and interim City Manager Henry Hesling said there is currently "no framework" in place to regulate them.

"The city has embraced community events, often supported or co-sponsored them," Hesling said, but noted in these tough economic times, the city also has to have a way to recoup some costs. "We have such a nice area here, downtown, that people want to utilize it for fundraising and other events."

Many of the gatherings are annual, such as the Park Fete in July and the recent Autumn Cruise put on by the Lions Club, as well as parades and more.

"Our resources are very limited," Hesling said of the tough budget times for the city.

Goal of putting an ordinance in place would be setting up a framework for the city to recover costs for items ranging from street closures to needing extra police on patrol. Public Works crews typically are called out for street closures, while police help with crowd control and protecting the health and safety of attendees.

"We're trying to fashion ours to fit us," Hesling said of developing an ordinance.

He is looking at similar ordinances in neighboring communities to get ideas and input will also be sought from the public at the Sept. 20 council meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Ekholm Meeting Room of the Escalon Library.

Hesling said he drafted a letter to some 28 local organizations and service groups that have had functions in the city in the past, hoping to gather some suggestions and prompt a turnout at the Monday night meeting.

"There will be some exceptions to certain activities," Hesling said of working with community groups on cost for hosting events. "We want to have some flexibility, but we also want a process."

The city will start enacting conditions for hosting events once the ordinance is in place and Hesling said he's hopeful some type of annual 'activity calendar' can be developed for the city to help plan ahead.

"Usually when you have functions, you don't put them on overnight," he said, noting that community groups can contact the city as soon as they know they will be putting on an event.

"We wouldn't need an ordinance if we only had one (event) a year, but we have to make sure we can handle them," Hesling said.