BRENTWOOD -- The City Council paved the way for a charity fun run to be held in late September, but only after it encountered a procedural bump in the road that event organizers say could cost a local high school student a $1,000 college scholarship.
The council voted unanimously to approve a temporary use permit to allow the fourth annual Delta Harvest Run to be held Sept. 21, but it also asked police Chief Mark Evenson to examine why the cost for police services has more than doubled since last year's event, which will have the same course and is expected to attract the same number of participants.
"Not that we don't love the police -- they're great, they're a great asset. But I think if you read the reports, we had no issues with police (last year)," said Chris Holzer, who was in charge of planning the run's course. "My staff and I did a really good job managing the traffic. ... We were pretty much a self-disciplined organization."
Another of the run's main organizers, Wendy Shearer, told the council the cost for police services for last year's run was around $900. This year's cost is more than $2,400, even though police plan on using the same number of personnel as they did last year, and the length of the course is basically identical. Neither the mayor, the council, nor the police chief could offer an immediate explanation for the discrepancy.
Four of the five council members indicated they thought it appeared to be excessive, at least initially, the exception being Vice Mayor Joel Bryant.
Shearer praised the council for its support of the run, noting that the mayor and some council members have even participated in past years, but said she was concerned that the spike in cost could siphon money away from charitable causes.
"All the money goes directly back out -- we sent out last year $10,000 in high school scholarships," Shearer said. "Any increase in cost takes away from the money we can give out."
Evenson said that he would revisit the $2,400 figure to look at what the extra costs were for. He added, "If there are some areas where we can cut back, we will."
Mayor Bob Taylor and Councilman Steve Barr, who both expressed concern about the added cost, said they were confident that Evenson's final decision would be made in good faith, and so there was no need to postpone issuing the temporary use permit. There was also concern that if the council delayed, it might disrupt the run itself, which is less than 30 days away.
The run is a 5K and 10K early-morning charity event, organized by Delta Realtors Community Service Information, with the proceeds going to support local food banks, shelters and college scholarships for local high school students. Holzer said organizers start around 4:30 a.m. on event day and that the run lasts from around 7 a.m. until 11 a.m.
Before the council voted, Interim City Manager Steve Salomon noted that the council has had other difficulties with the issuing of temporary use permits and recommended that they revisit how they approach the process.
"I've probably worked for six cities, and I've never seen cities go through this," Salomon said. "I've been here for months, and it's happened three times."
Councilman Erick Stonebarger agreed the city needed to make improvements in its permit process, but it should be done by city staff, not during a council meeting.
"I have confidence that our staff will put the appropriate requirements in place," Stonebarger said. For more information on the run, visit www.deltaharvestrun.com.