Vet Events Tally reaches tentative agreement with city over Veterans Day Parade charge

There was heated public comment at a city commission meeting, as local veterans spoke out about a bill the city sent them to put on the annual parade.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:53 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - There was heated public comment at Wednesday night’s city commission meeting, as local veterans spoke out about a bill the city sent them to put on the annual parade in their honor.

Vet Events Tally was charged a fee of $3,245.11 to put on the parade. The city said it’s part of a budget change impacting a dozen events. For Vet Events Tally, the charge pushed the organization to the brink of disbanding.

“Please, I’m asking you humbly, respectfully, please honor our veterans,” said one public commenter, Tina Reason.

Joe West, president of Vet Events Tally, said the group has the money to pay the fee, but that the charge itself is disrespectful.

“It was never about money,” West said. “It was never ever about money.”

Mayor John Dailey argued that the city covered the cost of that $3,245.11 charge, because the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA, gave Vet Events Tally a $5,000 grant this year.

“The city is not necessarily the bad guy here,” Dailey said. “There is no bad guy.”

Dailey offered to handle things internally, using the grant money that would’ve gone to Vet Events Tally to pay for the charge levied by the city. That way, the organization won’t get sent a bill each year. West said he’s happy with this deal.

“We would happily give up the CRA grant if they just would take care of it and nothing comes of it. And that’s kind of the way I think it’s headed.”

West and other members said they’re glad both parties could come to an agreement.

“I’m just glad that we’ve got this behind this,” West said. “And Vet Events Tally can go back to the business of doing parades.

Before Wednesday’s meeting, Chris Kraft, owner of Kraft Nissan, offered to pay the bill for Vet Events Tally that the city is charging them. It looks like that won’t be necessary, but West said, instead, Kraft Nissan will be supporting the Veterans Day Parade by becoming a sponsor.

Next month, West will resign as president of the organization. Current VP John Pantoja plans to take his place.