ROCKLAND, Maine — The Maine Lobster Festival will have to shell out money to the city for the annual summer waterfront celebration.
The council voted 4-1 Monday night to reject fee waivers. The rejection means the organization will have to pay $14,250 to use the downtown city-owned waterfront parks this year. Councilor William Clayton was the sole councilor to support the waiver.
This is the second consecutive year the council has refused to waive the fees for use of Mildred Merrill Park, Harbor Park and Buoy Park by Rockland Festival Corp.
“The days of fee waivers are over or should be phased out,” Councilor Larry Pritchett said.
Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf said the city is a business and councilors have to do what they can for taxpayers. She said in a year when the city is considering whether to make cuts in the recreation department, library and harbor department, the council must say no to fee waivers.
Brian Plourde, the new president of the Maine Lobster Festival, said he expected the council would reject the request.
“We know these are difficult times for taxpayers and the council,” Plourde said.
He said the festival owed it to the organization to make the request, because it is run by volunteers and finances are tight for it as well.
In a letter to the council, Plourde pointed out that the festival promotes the community across the country.
“The Lobster Festival also has a direct impact on the tourism associated with the many thousands of guests who plan their vacations to visit Rockland and the beautiful coast of Maine,” Plourde stated in the letter.
The president of the organization also pointed out many projects that the festival has helped the city with financially.
The festival will take place Wednesday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 2.