Last tango in East Carbon?
The fate of East Carbon's Community Daze adult dance continues to hang in the balance as the city council once again tabled the issue after coming to a stalemate at the May 14 meeting.
The annual dance which concludes Community Daze festivities was called into question when EC Police Chief Sam Leonard approached the council at a previous session and stated that the event had become counterproductive to the city's image and dangerous for its citizens.
"After two weeks of talking with residents, this is the opinion I'm getting from the majority of people I have talked with. They still want the dance," said council member David Maggio, who by default has become the event's most vocal proponent. "They don't mind some restrictions but they still want the dance."
According to multiple council members, many citizens - including seniors - have stated that taking the dance away this year could lead to a slippery slope that would spell the beginning of the end for Community Daze.
The restrictions Maggio speaks of would include having no alcohol in the park, a situation which several council members and law enforcement officials agree would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to enforce.
"I think we would need to have at least a dozen officers to even try it," said EC Police Sgt. Phillip Holt. "One posted at every entrance checking people as they came in and even with that you're still going to have people trying to sneak in with beer."
Leonard explained to the council that arrests are one of the many difficulties at the dance because each time someone it taken in, law enforcement loses one of its officers for at least an hour and a half because of the transport time to the jail in Price.
"I have people come to me and say 'It's about time somebody did something about that ridiculous dance,' that's what I've heard," said Leonard. "I had a major company in town tell me that they no longer donate because that (the adult dance) is part of Community Daze. They've heard what goes on there and so they've just decided to not have their names associated at all."
Underage drinking, illicit drug use, a hostile atmosphere, public drunkenness and all around disorderly conduct were named by Leonard and council members who agree with his position as reasons to shut the dance down. Additionally, while the event is designated as adult, access laws prohibit the police from keeping anyone out of a public park regardless of their age.
"For the money we would spend on extra police enforcement we could buy a projector and have community events for the entire family," explained Leonard. "We could do that several times a year instead of spending funds on something which has become a negative for this community."
According to Leonard, entertainment expenses and extra officers cost the city approximately $1,000 annually, money he feels would be better spend putting on a "family" friendly event.
As the council went back and forth over the issue, alcohol use at the park and the liability that use places on the city became the main cause for concern.
"Whether or not we allow alcohol in that park should be up to our insurance," said East Carbon City Attorney Jeremy Humes. "If the insurance says we are okay with it then it's okay. If they are not comfortable then I would definitely say don't do it."
A poll of the five member council and mayor found the body to be in a virtual tie as they once again decided to table the issue and contact their insurance carrier for specific answers concerning their liability.