The free help that Lexington Town Hall gives community fundraisers is ending.
Town leaders are looking at guidelines that would require many — but not all — nonprofits to start paying for traffic control, trash cleanup and other costs for races, walks and other events.
The restrictions could be in place by Jan. 1, although events already in the works would be exempt from the requirements in 2013.
“We need some guidelines set, but I hope it doesn’t become too strict,” event organizer Lee Pitcovich said. “I’m worried some of these guys will suffer.”
Mayor Randy Halfacre promised that the plan being developed “won’t throw cold water” on most events.
The look at limits comes after town administrator Britt Poole reported that demand for help with fundraisers is rising steadily.
“We’re seeing a substantial uptick in requests for that type of help,” he said.
In the past year, police officers and town staff assisted at 19 events, double the previous year, he said.
Most requests are for traffic control. Town officials project that police overtime alone could be as much as $75,000 this year, an increase of 50 percent, Poole said.
The plan proposed would exempt four town-sponsored parades as well as other gatherings with which Town Hall is associated, such as Oktoberfest and Wine Walk, from paying for services. Other groups could ask Town Council to waive fees, which would vary based on the length and type of services being requested.
The fee isn’t determined, but preliminary estimates suggest it’s likely to range from $25 to $40 per hour per police officer and other employees.
Town leaders don’t want to drive away events that help bring in shoppers, particularly for struggling Main Street retailers.
“I don’t want this to have a chilling effect,” Halfacre said. “We will continue to be very community-oriented.”
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.