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Event organizers forced to pick up tab

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A cost comes with the tens of thousands of people who pour into Cranberry each year for special events and fundraisers.

Last month, supervisors adopted a resolution that allows the township to start charging event organizers for township personnel and equipment.

Employees sometimes have to block roads and clean up facilities, township manager Jerry Andree said, costing several thousand dollars.

“We will continue to support charitable causes, but it can't be at the expense of taxpayers,” he said.

The main fee, for employees needed at the events, will be $12 to $30 an hour, Andree said. The number of employees depends on the size of the event. The township can also charge for some equipment, such as lighting, if event organizers ask for it, he added.

“People want green grass, empty trash cans and sparkling restrooms. And we deliver that, but it comes at a cost,” Andree said.

The township will be “flexible” whenever it can but, “We've had requests of groups, nonprofit organizations that aren't truly associated with the township who want to hold events in the parks,” said Supervisor Bruce Mazzoni.

“We never want to say no to anyone, but they have to have certain expectations,” he said.

Many events have volunteers that help with cleanup, Mazzoni said, and don't drain township resources, but others require assistance.

“If someone wants to shut down a road, it's a simple thing to say, but it's hard to do. There's a cost associated with it. We're trying to put a reality to that particular number,” he said.

If an event requires closing a road, organizers will be responsible for the costs of any signs or police to direct traffic, according to the resolution.

The township is also getting 5K races off area roads and into Community and North Boundary parks, Andree said.

The township will be “lenient” with groups that raise money that stays in the township, such as the Cranberry CUP scheduled for August. It raises money each year for a community project and a township family. Many of the larger events, he added, are self-sufficient and don't need township resources for cleanup.

Also, Andree said, the township will not charge groups for normal wear and tear in the parks, but damage out of the ordinary will come with a bill.

Andree said township officials have met with various groups and organizations, which have responded positively to the changes.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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