Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, Nov. 2, approved charging the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) $1 per person, excluding children, for the use of the festival grounds for the Art Festival.

ACND Harbor Master Keith Barrett started the discussion asking commissioners, “How are we going to bill this? Are we going by our leasing policy?”

RCA Deputy Director Karen Ernst told commissioners the RCA would appreciate being charged the flat $4,000 for use of the site, as it was proposed this past year.

(Note: a change in the ACND’s policy for use of the festival grounds was approved prior to Hurricane Harvey. The new policy calls for organizations to pay $1 per person for gated events. Currently, that only affects the RCA - Art Festival, and the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce - Seafair. Neither of those organizations have paid the $1 fee since the new policy went into affect, due to Harvey. A set rate has been charged.)

Barrett noted the district would be better off (from a financial standpoint) if it didn’t “put on any festivals.”

He noted expenses for installing electrical panels and paying staff overtime exceeds what the district receives.

“(With the charge based on attendance) if you have a good year, we have a good year,” said Barrett.

Ernst noted volunteers check people in at the gate, and at times it can get pretty hectic.

“We’ve talked about this for years and years,” said Commissioner Tommy Moore. “Lets try to implement our policy.

“We can work on any variables.”

Commissioner Tony Dominguez said he loves the festivals, and the people those festivals bring to town, but added the local taxpayer shouldn’t be footing any of the bills.

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