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DPAO, city agree to eliminate new concert fee

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The Disabled Persons Action Organization was given a $675 break on city fees for the summer concert season at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

On Monday night, the Watertown City Council unanimously agreed to waive a new $675.85 charge for electrical and sewer hookups to trailers that will be used as entertainer dressing rooms. DPAO officials have said they learned about the new fee April 19, the day before tickets went on sale for the summer concert season.

Council members Jeffrey M. Smith and Roxanne M. Butler said they thought waiving the fee was fair since the DPAO learned about it so late.

After the vote, Joseph L. Rich, vice president of the DPAO board, said he was grateful for their decision.

“I just think we’re moving forward and are on the same track,” he said.

At first, DPAO officials mistakenly thought that the fee was going to be as much as $2,575.

The supposed $2,575 fee and other escalating charges upset DPAO officials so much that they considered looking for other venues to move the concerts from the fairgrounds.

Mr. Rich and council members said they want the DPAO and the city to meet after the summer concert season to discuss the fee structure for next year.

The council also learned that the city and Stream International soon should work out a new agreement on the city-owned parking lots that the company uses for its employees at its Arsenal Street call center.

The company has agreed to relinquish its exclusive right to a seldom-used parking lot behind Liberty Plaza, City Manager Sharon A. Addison said. The 10-year lease expired Wednesday, and the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency asked for a five-year extension on the $1-a-year lease.

Under the proposed agreement, Stream International could recoup portions of that parking lot as needed, Ms. Addison said. The City Council may vote on the proposal at its May 20 meeting.

The arrangement would resolve what has been a thorny issue with JCIDA officials, who have said it was imperative that Stream International have enough parking.

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. today at City Hall, 245 Washington St., for what could be the first and only work session on the proposed $41 million budget.

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