The City of Laurie came to terms on an agreement with the company that offers carriage rides through the Enchanted Village of Lights in the Laurie Fairgrounds during the holiday season after a lengthy discussion about manure removal.
Bob and Mary Ann Irwin of Miracle Carriage Rides agreed to a more formal business arrangement that included proper licensing and manure removal to keep the rides through the drive-through light park available this coming season.
The board of aldermen had been considering requiring Miracle Carriage Rides to give the city park some of the proceeds from the rides in order to continue doing business at the Enchanted Village.
City attorney Steve Grantham advised the board that a special fee for the company would not be appropriate but that the company should be getting a temporary business license and should be collecting sales tax on the rides just as any other temporary business would be expected to do.
Miracle Carriage Rides has informally offered the service at the park during the light park's run for a small fee for four years. People do not have to do the carriage ride to see the park; most drive through in their cars.
The carriage also offered light park volunteers and others with the city to ride for free.
Grantham advised the company to stop offering free rides to city-related individuals as it might send the wrong message though it was a nice gesture.
The issue came up after complaints from park department volunteers, including improper disposal of manure from the carriage horse.
The Irwins said they do clean up the manure and that the complaints were petty, personal attacks, but they agreed to a written contract to clarify expectations.
In addition to making sure a proper business license is taken out and sales tax is collected, part of the agreement between the city and carriage company will include a time frame in which manure must be cleaned up.
With the light park shutting down immediately at the 10 p.m. closing time, the manure cannot be picked up that night so it will be required to be shoveled early the next morning and to be removed completely from the park in buckets instead of the manure simply being tossed into the grass.
The public works department headed by Ed Young was given the responsibility of arbitrating any disputes over whether the manure removal was being done thoroughly enough.
A $50 penalty will be issued if it is found that the manure is not being disposed of properly.