County’s licence fee keeps vendors away on Friday the 13th

VOLUNTEER organizers of Port Dover’s Friday the 13th events are taking a second crack at getting a new deal with Norfolk County.
Port Dover Kinsmen say under current arrangements they can’t cover their costs of co-ordinating Friday the 13th.
The group first spoke to county councillors about the problem in July 2016.
When nothing happened, Kinsmen spokesperson Amie Ferris again explained things to councillors on Jan. 10.
And she may get action.
Councillors directed staff to discuss alternatives with the volunteers.
The Kinsmen co-ordinate parking, busing and with Port Dover Board of Trade co-ordinate washrooms and vendor areas and pay a portion of county staff’s overtime for cleanup.
Depending on time of year, the organizers’ expenses for each Friday the 13th range from $12,000 to $20,000.
But in recent years their revenue has fallen sharply, down to $13,000 in 2016 said Ms Ferris.
Many out-of-town vendors have stopped coming to Friday the 13th because the licence fee of $537 for a one-day permit is too expensive for them to make money.
Meanwhile, the county collects the bulk of licence fees. In May 2016, the county clerk’s office took in $45,000 in fees.
Speaking last July and again on Jan. 10, Ms. Ferris said Kinsmen and the Board of Trade would like Friday the 13th treated like Norfolk’s other community festivals, such as Summer Festival.
Festival sponsors pay one fee to the county and keep vendors’ fees for themselves.
The former PD 13 committee, which organized Friday the 13th for many years, had a similar deal.
The committee collected fees from vendors and passed a small share to the county.
The good times have gone by and volunteers are feeling the pinch, Port Dover Coun. John Wells said in an interview.
Hopefully, they and the county will reach a compromise, he said.
The next Friday the 13th is in October.

Posted: January 18, 2017

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