Local attorney Patrick Kunes spoke to the Tifton City Council at a recent workshop/called meeting to discuss organizing a festival in Tifton.
Kunes said he enjoyed the Love Affair Fine Arts Festival growing up, and since it will not be returning, he thought that it would be great to put on a festival similar to what the Love Affair offered.
Kunes, who has helped organize several different local concerts at the Tift Theatre and recently helped with the Moultrie festival, told the council that he talked with some local people who liked the idea. He stated that he thought about having a turfgrass festival due to Tifton being known for its turfgrass.
He added that there are some local businesses that would be willing to be a sponsor. He stated that the idea is to bring back the basic body of what the Love Affair was all about — bands, art vendors, etc.
He said he remembers the Love Affair being about “running around and going from booth to booth.”
Kunes said he’s okay with keeping the festival small, noting that he would be happy with 200 to 300 people attending. He stated that he has people behind him, but the biggest thing would be getting enough volunteers.
“I think people will come together for this,” he stated.
Kunes told the council that he wants to have a partnership with the city to put on this festival. He assured them that the festival would be paid off by sponsors, and it would be a free one-day event for the community. He noted that he’s looking at the date of May 4, 2013 to put on the event.
Mayor Jamie Cater and the council seemed pleased with the idea and willing to help. Councilman Chris Parrott stated that the Love Affair has always been a “jewel” in Tifton. He said it sadden him to see it go.
Also, Kunes proposed offering BYOC (bring your own cooler) after 4 p.m. on the day of the event. He explained that the festival would then transition from a kid event into an adult event. He said the festival could possibly start at 10 a.m. and end about 7:30 or 8 p.m. The adult entertainment would be offered at the end of the festival. He plans to have local performers throughout the day.
He also mentioned the festivals that he and his friends helped organize at the local theater. He said they weren’t picking up enough people as they would have liked. Councilwoman Julie Smith and Parrott noted that they had attended the festivals and thought that they were very entertaining.
City Manager Larry Riner told Kunes that he would contact him for further discussion.
During the workshop, the council also discussed the possibility of allowing mobile food vendors in Tifton. Riner said they would have to be regulated by the Tift County Health Department. He noted that the owners of the vendors would have to follow state regulations and have a business license.
He informed the council that City Clerk Rona Martin did the research. The council looked over and discussed other nearby cities’ food vendor guidelines.
The main concern that some council members had was how this would affect local businesses — Riner noted that someone could set up their food vendor next to a business. Smith proposed that they only allow so many feet the vendor can be set up from an existing business, as well as another cart. Parrott added that there should be a time frame for the carts to be out. He said they could try the program out, and if it doesn’t work, they could shut it down. However, Riner stated that a food cart costs about $30,000, and if the city decides to allow food vendors and then shut them down, owners of those carts would be upset after spending that much money.
Councilwoman Marianna Keesee stated that she doesn’t want to say no to having food vendors, but she agreed that they would have to follow regulations.
The council will discuss this more.
Other issues discussed at the workshop included:
- Riner and City Attorney Rob Wilmot addressed the interlocal agreement for Emergency Management. This agreement allows the city to participate unless the council would like to establish their own EMA, Wilmot explained. He said a lot would have to be put in place if that’s what they wished to do. He noted that EMA is a countywide service paid by citizens through ad valorem taxes. Wilmot recommended that the council agree to a four-year term with the understanding of a termination clause (120-day notice).
- Bert Crowe, director of the environmental management department, went over the ordinance providing for zoning amendment regarding railroad right of ways. He explained to the council that approval of this amendment would make all railroad right of ways within the City of Tifton zoned in accordance with the zoning district which are bounded on each side of the railroad right of way to the centerline of the right of way.
- Riner discussed the resolution providing for transmittal of the 2012 update of the Short Term Work Program. He told the council that this program is designed based on how they envision the City of Tifton over 20 years. He also went over the resolution providing for the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) for the Whiddon Mill Road Project and resolution providing for the three percent COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for retirees. Riner said the base of Whiddon Mill Road is failing. This road is traveled daily by people — over 5,000 a day. This project will involve the resurfacing of Whiddon Mill Road from Interstate 75 to Carpenter Road. The total project costs $253,886.50. LMIG funding will amount to $147,318.23; the council has to match 30 percent of the funds ($44,195.47). The remaining funding needed comes to $62,372.80. Riner recommended that the council completes this project. The three percent COLA will be discussed more at the council’s December meeting. Riner recommended to the council that they do not approve it due to a short fall in the retiree fund for this year. However, he told the council that if they do decide to approve it, they should do it contingent upon funds being available to pay for it.
- Martin briefly updated the council on the board report.
- After a lengthy workshop, the council entered into a called meeting where they approved the resolution providing for an alcoholic beverage license for Chili’s Grill & Bar.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.