Assistant City Attorney Carlos Mendoza told Historic City News reporters that a previously suggested $5,000 permit fee for horse-drawn carriages is now “off the table”.
Mendoza was quoted in the St. Augustine Report published by the City Department of Public Affairs, “There’s no (fee) number, but it’s going to be a lot less, and maybe nothing.”
At a public discussion session yesterday, Mendoza assured three dozen carriage business owners, drivers, animal rights activists, and residents that the city is not attempting to take over the carriage trade.
Mendoza responded to comments that the new carriage ordinance was retaliation to the recent lawsuit with Avalon Carriage owner Murphy. “This is not retaliatory, but how to do things better.”
“Although it has been misrepresented by some,” Mendoza said, “the city absolutely won the lawsuit.” Mendoza pointed out that “a court doesn’t award you costs unless you prevail in the lawsuit.”
At the May 24th City Commission meeting, Mayor Joe Boles faced a virtual hornets’ nest — stirred up over what the mayor described as the “premature” publication of a draft carriage ordinance. Boles and commissioners called for a revision with input from carriage businesses and the public.
Among the possibilities in the new draft: a shift of the carriage stand to the Visitor Center turnout off Orange Street, a revised carriage route away from congested areas, and codification of hours of operation and the heat index to pull horses off the street.
You call Mendoza at 825-1052 as he has invited public input while preparing the new draft.
The City Commission will review the new draft on Monday at 3:30 during a workshop before it convenes its regular meeting at 5:00 p.m.
Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer