Community groups and other organizations that want to use the Civic Center for special events must now post a refundable $2,500 bond to cover cleanup costs.
The City Council decided this week to bill users, because after some recent functions the city's maintenance staff was forced to haul trash away, repair broken sprinklers and steam-clean the sidewalks.
"This isn't an attempt to make any money," said City Manager Bill Smith. "We just want to make sure the taxpayers don't get stuck with these costs."
Officials said that the city has been receiving more requests for use of the center, and wanted to have a consistent policy in place. Organizations can obtain the bond through an insurance company, or could write a check for the amount, which would be returned if no damage was done to the grounds.
"We don't want to keep anyone out," said Sondra Evans, the city's cultural arts coordinator. The city's decision was partly motivated by the cleanup required after the Vietnamese Moon Festival, for which organizers were billed $1,800.
"The Moon Festival is a great event, and we hope they come back next year. But there was an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people there, and we've never had anything like that before. We weren't prepared for the tremendous amount of trash that had to be hauled. We're talking flatbed trucks full of trash," Evans said.
The bond requirement was approved by a 3-to-0 vote at Tuesday's meeting. Councilman Frank Fry Jr. was absent because of illness and Councilman Tony Lam was on vacation.