'May Fest' discussed at council meeting

Whether a “May Fest” billed as a family event is in reality family friendly was the topic of discussion at the Enterprise City Council meeting Aug. 20.

“Recently, I’ve been told that these events should discontinue and I am here to tell you why we should be able to do our events,” self-described “community event organizer” Freddie Hill told the council about the event held at Peavy Park in Enterprise.

“Not only are (the events) positive but they benefit the community and the local economy,” Hill said. “We promote a drug free lifestyle, we promote staying in school, we also promote zero violence.

“I’m here to address the fact that I think our events should be able to continue in the city of Enterprise because they are completely violence free and working diplomatically with law enforcement and city officials, we think we can come to an agreeable resolution to make sure we can continue,” Hill said.

Hill told the council that he has been an event organizer for 15 years and has “built a nine-year legacy of events in Enterprise” to include food, clothing and school supply collection drives. “They have all been completely successful,” he said

Enterprise Police Chief T.D. Jones said that the “May Fest” is the only event that Hill has organized to date that “had issues.

“There was drinking going on and they were smoking weed at the park,” Jones said, adding that law officers had met after the event with the event organizers issues to discuss what needed to be done in any future events.

“And they did not do it. Our instructions were not followed,” Jones said. “We told them they had a year to find an alternative place to have the ‘May Fest.’”

EPD Capt. Michael Moore told the council that the organizers had been instructed to place visible signs at the park entrance prohibiting the use of alcohol and illegal substances. The organizers were also instructed to have their own security team. “It would be their responsibility to enforce the no-alcohol and illegal substance rules,” Moore said. “The police step in when the team is not listened to. Then we step in and enforce the law.

“We want everybody to have a good time. We don’t want to be negative,” Moore said, adding that he had cautioned the event organizers about the noise ordinance. “That’s when they informed me that they had a contest to see who had the loudest music.

“We told them we would allow it but this would be the last time,” Moore said about the loudest-music contest. “The music was never controlled. We got complaints. One was that they could hear the obscenities from the music that was coming out of the car.”

Moore said he instructed the party participants to put the alcohol they were drinking away but as soon as he turned his back, “they broke it back out again.”

Moore also said that participants told him they were never told that alcohol was prohibited at the “May Fest.”

“I want to confirm that we did have several meetings with the organizers expressing issues and concerns about this,” said Enterprise Parks and Recreation Director Billy Powell. “We’re not against what they are trying to do but we feel that the city is liable if we continue to do this. Our concern is safety, of course.

“That’s why we gave him a year’s notice so hopefully he can find another venue,” Powell added. “He tried to promote this like a family event and again, this is not a family event.”

In unrelated business the council approved a transportation plan that Consulting Engineer Glenn Morgan said needed to be submitted to the state by Aug. 31.

Morgan explained that as part of the bill for the new gas tax which starts in September, all county and municipal governments must develop an annual transportation plan that outlines where the funds generated by the gas tax will be used in that fiscal year. A report on how the money is actually spent will be submitted to the state at the end of the year.

The first year of the tax, which is a 6-cent increase, goes into effect Sept. 1. There will be 2-cent increases over the next two years.

Under the gas tax, called the Rebuild Alabama Act, 66 percent of generated revenues to state projects while 25 percent goes to counties and 8 percent to municipalities.

Instead of listing specific streets in the Enterprise plan, Morgan recommended reporting that any money received would go towards completing the Phase 1 Master Street Resurfacing list of the water main replacement project.

As part of the project, some streets are being resurfaced following water main replacement. The contractor is behind schedule on that project, Morgan reported. “He is doing very good work and there have not been any issues. He’s just behind.”

The council also approved Interim Department of Engineering Services Director Staci Hayes’ request to replace the doors on the city of Enterprise building being leased by the South Central Alabama Mental Health Authority located near the municipal airport.

The next meeting of the Enterprise City Council is Tuesday, Sept. 3. A work session begins at 5 p.m. in the mayor’s conference room. A voting meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. Both meetings are open to the public.

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