Rockland Waives Park Use Fees by Lobster Festival – Knox County VillageSoup
ROCKLAND — The Rockland City Council waived the Maine Lobster Festival fee Monday night to use the city’s waterfront parks for the annual summer event.
The Council voted 3 to 2 on May 9 to waive user fees for Harbor Park, Mildred Merrill Park and Buoy Park for the Festival. Mayor Ed Glaser and councilors Nate Davis and Nicole Kalloch voted for the waiver. The Council, however, rejected by a vote of 4 to 1 the waiver of the cost of public safety coverage for the parade. Mayor Glaser voted for the waiver.
The waiver will save the Festival approximately $16,000.
Davis said he was open to the waiver because the Festival was not charging for admission throughout this year’s event. Kalloch pointed out that the Festival has helped the city through donations.
Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf said she would not consider quitting until she saw the nonprofit’s financial records. She said the organization seems to have trouble providing this information.
MacLellan-Ruf also said the city has other needs, pointing out that the proposed 2022-23 budget does not include money for organizations such as Area Interfaith Outreach which operates the food pantry in Rockland.
The City had regularly waived Festival fees until 2014, when a majority of councilors said taxpayers should not subsidize the event with taxpayer dollars used to provide services.
The 75th anniversary of the Festival will take place from Wednesday August 3 to Sunday August 7. The parade is scheduled for Saturday, August 6. The Festival starts moving to the city’s waterfront from July 27 and will have the grounds cleared by August 9.
The Festival has not taken place for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also at the May 9 Council meeting, Council voted unanimously to waive fees for the Summer Solstice Celebration to be held Saturday, June 18 from 3-8 pm on Main Street.
MacLellan-Ruf said the summer solstice was a community celebration while the festival was more about people from around the world coming to Rockland.
“The Festival is a different nugget,” she said.
Glaser pointed out that the city helps fund Rockland Main Street Inc., which organizes the summer solstice, and that charging them would be like the city taking care of itself.
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