AUBURN, Mass. – The town of Auburn charges profit and nonprofit groups to set up at the Fall Festival, and resident Wayne Page is not pleased.
The $25 booth fee should be waived for all nonprofits for the Fall Festival, said Page, who is involved with Keeping Auburn Warm, a nonprofit that helps people receive fuel assistance. He made his argument Monday night to the Board of Selectmen and the town manager.
The Fall Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 27
“I think it’s wrong to charge any nonprofit to do an event when they’re trying to raise money to help people,” Page said. “We’re trying to raise money for people that can’t afford oil, and that takes $25 right off the top of our keep to try to help people. The town should exempt nonprofits from that fee.
“I don’t see why the town itself would take money out of people getting oil because of an application fee,” Page added. “We are trying to help our own people, and the fee’s wrong.”
The fee was reduced last year from $35 to $25 for any profit or nonprofit group, which increased the number of vendors at the Fall Festival, Town Manager Julie Jacobson said. All groups have already paid this year’s fee, so the town cannot make an exception for one group and not another, she said.
“You can’t treat one organization differently from another,” Jacobson said. “We have to be consistent. We can’t say that Keeping Auburn Warm gets the fee waived, but the Boy Scouts have to pay it. All the other not-for-profits have paid that fee, so we can’t waive it for this year.”
Page said he doesn’t want to single out Keeping Auburn Warm for the fee waiver.
“I’m part of Keeping Auburn Warm, but I think any nonprofit shouldn’t be charged that fee,” he said.
The town will explore fee waivers for nonprofits or some type of split fee in future years, Jacobson said. The fee is charged to cover the costs for police details, entertainment and other items of the Fall Festival.
The Fall Festival, coordinated with the Homecoming celebration this year, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the high school. There will be soccer and field hockey games, pumpkin painting, a costume contest, pony rides, train rides, face painting, live music, food and craft vendors and more.