Northside neighborhood group hit by new fees for Fourth of July festival

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 27, 2016

CINCINNATI -- James Heller-Jackson has been working since May to get ready for Northside's Fourth of July Rock 'N' Roll Carnival.

But if the party is the salve to the summer doldrums, there is a new fly in the ointment: When Cincinnati City Council approved the budget last year, it included an increase in permit fees going into effect July 1, the festival's first day.

"We're being hit with thousands of dollars worth of additional fees just this week," Heller-Jackson said. "Our fees have more than doubled."

Some were already existing -- Heller-Jackson said rental fees for Jacob Hoffner Park have doubled, for example -- while other fees are brand new.

"We're going to need building permits for our stage, which in 10 years of doing this, we've never needed," he said. "We're also going to need building permits for our tents, which are 10-by-10 pop-ups."

Vice Mayor David Mann is calling for a report on what all of the fees are. He also said he'd like to take a look at rolling them back.

"Council certainly didn't understand we were doing this to neighborhood groups," he said.

There are also concerns the new ordinances could reach even further: One of the items city councilmembers say they don't know if they voted for or not is some sort of gaming permit for bars to have pool tables. Councilwoman Yvette Simpson's office is looking into that issue.