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City plans workshop on party request

A request for a block party sparked some debate during Tuesday’s meeting of the Brewton City Council.
A tabled request from Gerald Thomas came up for discussion with security and liability for such an event as the main topic.
Councilman Fred Barton said the issues surrounding the request involved violent activity at the same event held in 2011.
“There was a cutting and a shooting at the last block party and that is an issue that needs to be addressed before we can make a decision on this,” Barton said. “Mr. Thomas needs to get with authorities on security for the event before we can give our permission to have the party.”
Councilman Dennis Dunaway agreed the issues of security and liability was important.
“We want him to have the party but under the same rules as everyone else,” Dunaway said. “We have to consider the liability in these situations for the city. We have passed an ordinance that requires anyone who collects money in the streets to have a $1 million liability policy.”
Thomas told the council that some of the issues were out of his control and were not a part of the party he hosted last year near Sportsman Park on Martin Luther King Drive.
“People are going to drink whether it’s my party or not,” Thomas said. “The problem you’re talking about was between two older men who had a beef before the party. I don’t make any money with this event. If I need to, I can come up with a security plan but I shouldn’t have to. Other events like the Blueberry Festival don’t have to follow that kind of rule.”
Mayor Ted Jennings said he had understood the event was to be a family affair and wouldn’t have any issues as was seen last year.
“You had people coming in from out of town and had flyers going out everywhere,” Jennings told Thomas. “We don’t have these kinds of issues at the Blueberry Festival and we know before hand that people are going to be coming from all over for that event.”
Thomas told council members that he would forego the party this year, but would be back next year with everything they were requesting.
Following other business of the council, the group decided to hold a special workshop prior to the next scheduled council meeting to discuss the issue with Thomas.
“I made a motion to hold the workshop to try to work out some sort of solution so that he can have the party,” Dunaway said. “We don’t want to single anyone out and we want to come to some sort of agreement for the event.”
In other business, the council:
• Approved a request from Brewton Elementary School to use Burnt Corn Creek for class time on April 6;
• Elected Mayor Ted Jennings as the voting delegate to represent Brewton at the annual business convention;
• Agreed to participate in the statewide Sales Tax Holiday for back-to-school shopping set for Aug. 3-5. City Clerk John Angel said the event, in its fourth year, was one Brewton did not participate in during 2011.
• Heard information regarding Earth Day activities planned for April 21. Watson said dumpsters would be set up in locations used previously for the event.
• Approved a state paving resolution request. Angel said the resolution would bear no cost to the city and allow state paving groups to have access to easements.