Those who called, emailed and spoke to alders on the Sturgeon Bay Common Council were successful in reducing a fee increase intended for 2021 farmers market vendor rates. Instead of raising the rates by 100 percent as was passed in the budget, alders agreed to halve the increase.
The seasonal vendor fee had been $175 and was intended to be increased to $350. The new fee will now be $260. All other farmers market vendor fees will be adjusted similarly.
The fees had not been raised since 2013, and fee increases were discussed during budget discussions in September, October and then November – when the 2021 budget was finally passed – as a way to generate $15,000 in additional revenue.
When it came time for the alders to officially sanction those increases by resolution Dec. 1, they met with resistance from one person who spoke during the community-comment period, and through emails and phone calls several alders had fielded prior to the meeting.
“It seems counterproductive to do this after years of building this farm market to the success it has been,” said Connie Bordeaux, speaking to the council Dec. 1. “I agree to a raise, but to double it is unfair.”
The alders had been on board with the increases, but after listening to constituents and learning that COVID-19 had also affected sales for farmers market vendors during the 2020 season, they agreed to reduce the increase.
“We certainly didn’t intend to make things worse for people who are already feeling like they’re hurting,” said Alder Helen Bacon.
The alders did not discuss where they’d find the $7,500 needed to rebalance the 2021 budget.