Beach to Beacon: $25K fee to Cape Elizabeth is reasonable

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CAPE ELIZABETH — As expected and without any discussion Monday, the Town Council unanimously approved a $25,000 Fort Williams Park group use fee for the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K.

The nonprofit organization is now faced with finding ways to cover the added expense in its 2011 budget. 

The 14th annual road race is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2011. The event last year drew 6,000 participants and thousands of spectators, and takes the town several days of preparation. Volunteers from Cape Elizabeth and neighboring communities work together to make the event safe and memorable. 

Town Manager Mike McGovern told councilors the fee recommendation was based on other fees for the use of the park. He said the race organizers use the park from Tuesday through Saturday and the $25,000 fee would benefit park improvements.

In addition, the race organizers will continue to repay all of the town’s out-of-pocket expenses, McGovern said.

McGovern also represents the town on the Beach to Beacon board.

David Weatherbie, president of the race organization, said fee did not come as a surprise.

“While $25,000 seems like a lot of money, we had to take a step back and say we haven’t paid a fee in 13 years, we use the park from Tuesday through Saturday, and there are over 10,000 people in the park the day of the race – runners, media and spectators,” he said. “We wanted to be treated fairly. Is $2 a head all that different from what is charged for a wedding? No. So we think the fee is reasonable.”

While Weatherbie said the organization is not ready to roll out a new race registration plan at this time, he said he expects the $25,000 will be generated from a combination of additional sponsorships, an increase in registration fees and an increase in race participants by “a couple hundred people.”

The registration fee last year was $35, he said.

Race organizers are in the process of budgeting for 2011 and finding ways to build the budget around the new fee, he said.

“We understand the circumstances around the situation and appreciate the use of the fort for all these years,” he said. “We support its restoration and would love to see the fort maintained at a high level. We want Fort Williams to be the end of the race for years to come.”

In addition to the $25,000 Beach to Beacon group use fee, the council unanimously accepted proposals to update fees for the use of picnic shelters and the gazebo at Fort Williams Park and to increase fees at the recycling center for disposal of some household items.

The fees from Fort Williams will be used to support improvements at the park.

Public Works Director Robert Malley said an increase in fees for the disposal of microwaves, televisions, carpeting, computers, monitors and office equipment would go into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

Residents will pay a $10 fee for disposal of a microwave oven; $15 for a console television and $5 for non-console televisions; $3 for all computers, monitors and office equipment, and $15 per roll of carpeting.

The council also approved an ordinance that will enable residents to participate in a federal and state program administered by Efficiency Maine Trust to assist residents in receiving loans for energy efficient improvements. 

The next council meeting will be Monday, Jan. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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