Board waives request for BikeFest fee

Published 7:44pm Friday, July 25, 2014

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners denied a request to waive the event fee for BikeFest 2014 at a special called meeting Friday.

A resolution implemented by the Decatur County Board of Commissioners in March 1982, states that a gathering of more than 500 people in Bainbridge is subject to a $2,500 fee.

The vote to waive the request was unanimous.

Fowlstown volunteer firefighter and BikeFest Chairman Robert Tate spoke at the county commission meeting Tuesday, stating the board has waived the fee for the past 16 years, and requested they do it again.

“We are asking the commissioners to waive this $2,500 fee for public gathering,” Tate said Tuesday. “It’s going to hurt us, it’s going to hurt this county, it’s going to hurt everybody. For the last 16 years, you have always waived it.”

Tate noted that BikeFest was a nonprofit organization, and those involved donate all proceeds to local charities.

“I think it’s something you really need to look at,” Tate said. “For example, Decatur County Rescue alone has $47,200 given to them off of BikeFest. BikeFest has given $744,000 away in 16 years to charity, to kids to help them out. That’s all it’s about.”

Decatur County Chairman Frank Loeffler said the fee should have been implemented for the past 16 years, but for various reasons, it wasn’t.

“I assume that any other event that resulted in 500 or more people, they would do the same thing,” Loeffler said. “Somewhere along the line, your county commissioners change, your county clerks change. I think it just got lost.”

Loeffler said until the recent controversy surrounding the incident at BikeFest 2012 came up, nobody has realized the fee was supposed to be implemented.

“There’s no way we can go back,” Loeffer said. “We can be sure it’s corrected from here on out.”

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