Shelby Rosales, who heads the Expo Center, said that, while it doesn’t happen often, when it does occur it is an unfair burden on the county.
As of now, those renting the Expo Center pay $500 cleanup and damage deposits for each of the different buildings and areas.
Commissioner Ken Haggard said, “We keep the $500 but it costs us $1,000 or more to clean it up.”
Rosales wants to change that — assuming that Mike Knight, county attorney, approves the increase.
“Sometimes I have them come in, and they don’t abide by the damage rules and regulations,” she said. “If they come back, the deposit may go up if they don’t abide by the rules.”
Just recently, a group left the center in a mess — voluntarily forfeiting their deposit, she explained to commissioners without saying who the offending group was.
“That was an event that asked to do something for the community,” Rosales said.
The cost to cleanup exceeded the deposit amount in this case.
Haggard questioned, “If the cost involved with your crew goes above this deposit, is it not a problem to go after this amount?”
While Rosales said they could, she was asking the court’s permission also to raise the deposit for such groups when they ask to rent or use the facilities the following year.
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt voiced concern though, wanting to ensure that not everyone was penalized by increasing the deposit amount.
“I don’t want the people that come in to suffer for the others,” he said.
Haggard agreed, saying, “We don’t need to wave the sword. We just need to use the tip.”
The commissioners wanted to ensure that they approve wording in the new contracts that would not be seen as penalizing one group or another unjustly.
Haggard said, “We need some language in there to allow you to match last year’s cleanup amount.”
DeWitt added, “That way someone cannot say, ‘She doesn’t like the tie I have on today, so she charged me $1,500, and that other ol’ boy he had on a different tie, and she charged him $500.”
Commissioner Carlos Salazar also tacked onto the change going before Knight an increase to the grounds deposit an additional $500, bringing it to $1,000.
This would likely only affect the bigger events such as Diez y Seis and Western Week that rent the largest portion of the Expo Center.
In all cases though, if the grounds are cleaned up and returned to the pre-event state, the client receives one’s deposit back.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.