Jasper to Implement New Special Category Theatre Fee

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During a Jasper City Council meeting on October 8th, the city council approved a motion that will establish a new “theatre fee” in the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance. The change in the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance comes as a request from the city’s local theatre group, the Tater Patch Players.

On Monday, Tater Patch Players Board members Janet Vardaman and Nan Nawrocki asked for a reduction in their city’s alcohol license because of the lack of alcohol sales coming from the local theatre.

Vardaman explained to the council that since having their license since the first of a year the theatre has been serving far less alcohol than any other place with a license. The reason for this she added was because the theatre only puts on approximately five productions a year, and only serves alcohol before and during intermission of each show. She said she felt like the 850 dollar fee the theater was currently paying for an alcohol license should be reduced.

Jasper Planning and Development Director Michael Castagna agreed that the Tater House Players were serving less than any other businesses in the community with a license. Castagna also stated since the theatre was issued its liscense in January, it had only sold 535 dollars worth of alcohol. He then said he felt like the council should consider deciding on making a special category for theater alcohol fees that would allow the Tater Patch Players to be able to pay a fee that would be only 20 percent of its current alcohol fee.

“The state charges 100 dollars; we figured around maybe charging 200 dollars,”

said Castagna.

If the council decided to establish a special category theatre fee, it would mean making a change to the ordinance. The council would then have to vote on the amendment, and have a second reading. Mayor John Weaver said that the city might have other companies in the future interested in the special category fee. Here, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Looney suggested that since other people might be interested in the fee, that in the definition of the new theatre fee any other small theater groups be approved by council before allowing them to receive the fee. The council then approved the first reading of the change to the ordinance; a second reading will soon follow.

Along with reducing the Tater House Players alcohol license fee, the council also granted several people water and sewer sanitation reductions at Monday’s city council meeting.

While referring a list of people to the council that met the requirements to receive reduced rates, City Clerk Tacie Williams said that these were people that were either disabled, or elderly and also met the income requirement. The reduction rates are granted to anyone over the age of 65 who make less than $15,000 a year, or any other disabled citizens who make less than $15,000 a year.

Lastly, Williams informed the council that the city had recently sent out bids on several of its bank accounts. Williams then said that the city has had five different banks respond to the bids, but before making any decision she said she would like the city’s financial committee to sit down and look at the bids. The financial committee is expected to meet soon before the council is to approve the bids at a later date.

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