MOBILE, ALA. (WALA)- Officials with the Mobile Police Department held a meeting with the Mobile Mardi Gras organizations on Wednesday, October 24 with the purpose of discussing a possible rate increase in parade permitting fees.

Chief Lawrence Battiste suggested hiking up the fees from $1,000 to $5,000 and many organizations were in an uproar. 

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson admitting the announcement was made too close to the upcoming season and that no fee increase will be made this Mardi Gras.

Stimpson said, "We really waited a little too long this year. Chief Battiste had suggested maybe we should put it off and I said no, let's go ahead with that and after listening to all the conversation last night we decided that we will tee it up for next year and so all the Mardi Gras organizations can rest easy this year."

If a steeper fee is slapped on parade permits, smaller organizations like the one Lorenzo Martin is president of, might have to go back to just catching beads instead of throwing them. 

"Increasing a great deal on the permitting almost rules out a lot of organizations and we may be one of those," Martin said.

Still, the Mayor said a parade fee increase for the 2020 season is coming. 

Stimpson said, "I know there's a belief that Mardi Gras brings, and it does bring a lot of revenue to the city, but still it cost the city about $50,000 for every parade. That's the pay that we have to put out for police, fire, and clean-up so $50,000 a night is a lot of money." 

Stimpson didn't say how much he plans to increase permit fees for the 2020 season. 

The last time the parade permit fee was increased was in 2010 from $500 to $1,000. 

There will be 42 parade permits issued this season. That's seven more permits than five years ago. 

All content © 2018, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

Investigative Reporter

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