Posted: Jan 30, 2012 9:52 AM by AP
SLIDELL, La. (AP) - Slidell plans to bill Carnival krewes that parade along the city's main route for half the cost of policing and cleaning up that route.
The government and krewes took steps that cut last year's total cost to the city to $60,000, and the parade groups agreed to cover 25 percent of that.
The rate is scheduled to rise to 50 percent this year and 75 percent next year, Mayor Freddy Drennan's chief of staff, Tim Mathison, told The Times-Picayune.
Slidell officials say they expect the cost to total at most $50,000 this year, largely because the season is down from six weeks to three, with only two weeks of parades planned for 2013.
The six-week season cost the city more than $100,000. Sales tax revenue steadily declined between 2007 and 2010, prompting reassessment.
No city ordinance splits parade costs between krewes and the municipality, Mathison said, but "We certainly believe that we have a valid agreement."
City officials and parade delegates have been working on an ordinance for at least 15 months, but it hasn't yet been introduced.
Krewe of Slidellians captain Carol Beech said she understands the city's position and appreciates that it is trying "to help with the cost."
"Everybody is having economy problems," Beech said.
Others say their groups and parades advertise Slidell and provide an alternative to the rowdier revelry in New Orleans, pumping dollars from beer, food and Mardi Gras-apparel sales into local restaurants, shops, grocery stores and convenience marts.
"All we're doing is promoting our parish and our city," said Warren "Mack" Wallace, an officer with the Krewe of Dionysus. "You're going to tell me Slidell doesn't see benefits on that?"