SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The city of Schenectady is considering upping the price for businesses to host block parties – an increase some worry could be a money grab.
Currently if a business in Schenectady wants to host a block party, shutting down the street, it only costs $10. One city council member, Leesa Perazzo, says that just doesn't cover the costs.
"Some of the thoroughfares that get closed off are major streets that really inconvenience our constituents," says Perazzo.
Police are also needed at time, adding an extra cost.
"We may have to close streets and detour traffic which may entail putting up signs, monitoring the actual event," said Chief Brian Kilcullen.
Kilcullen says the block parties happen several times a year -- usually on holidays.
"Some of the Irish pubs tend to have block parties around Saint Patrick's Day," he says.
"The only thing the city does for us is let us borrow barricades to let us close the streets," says Denis McDonald, owner of Pinhead Susan's. "We have our own police, we have our own security, we clean up after ourselves."
Perazzo says the increase being considered is about $200 - a cost McDonald says is understandable.
"That isn't bad, $200, $10 is cheap, we've known that for years," he says.
But he's concerned why the city needs to do this at all, and worries the increase could be recurring.
"Are they just looking for more fees to charge the people that can pay?" he asks.
Perazzo says that's not the case, saying the increase is only being considered for businesses hosting block parties and selling alcohol. Not for churches or block parties in neighborhoods.
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