Liberty changes parade ordinances in response to rowdy trail ride

The City of Liberty is cracking down on parade ordinances after a trail ride through residential areas of the city caused an uproar by citizens last fall.

The trail ride, which took place in November 2022, involved some participants with the 46th Annual Austonio Wildbunch Trail Ride reportedly engaging in lewd behavior and loud noise violations. [Read more by clicking here.] These issues were of particular concern to local residents, prompting the Liberty City Council and city administrators to respond with amendments to the City’s parade ordinances at the Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Under the amended ordinance, parade participants may not trespass on private property and must remain in the public right-of-way designated as the parade route. They must also refrain from using sound equipment to a degree that creates noise violations and they must not play music or use language that is profane or vulgar, and that can be heard by the general public. Parade participants cannot litter or leave behind any trash or garbage, and must clean up after their animals.

Parades must be permitted with the exception of city-sponsored or co-sponsored parades such as the Country Christmas parade, TVE Baby Parade and the TVE Rodeo Parade. Permits for parades must be filed with the police chief no less than 30 days prior to the date and time of the parade.

Activities that are exempt from the requirement of a parade permit include funeral processions, picketing or peace demonstrations, sidewalk processions (such as the annual Day of Prayer event), military convoys and processions, fire and police processions and wedding processions.

Prior to the vote to approve the amended ordinance, Councilman Tommy Brents told City Manager Tom Warner that he would like to see something added to the ordinance that would cover motorcades and parades that do not impede traffic. Brents said there were political parades held during the last presidential election that did not impede traffic or cause any disruption for the City and its residents.

Warner responded by saying, “I would say that caravans don’t fall under this ordinance anyway. There aren’t people standing on the sidewalk in anticipation of them coming through.”

Council also awarded a bid for a roof retrofit for Fire Station 1 to Mike Barnett Construction. The cost of the project is $361,850, which was $13,150 lower than the architect’s estimates for the job. The City received four bids ranging from Barnett’s low bid to the high bid of $429,000. The project will be funded by the Cambridge Fund, which is derived from profits from the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency.

Warner told Council that it will take the contractor 90 days to complete the project and it should not interfere with the normal operations of the fire department.

Council had to formally reject bids for a renovation to the fire station after receiving no bids. Warner said that contractors were contacted by the architect hired for the project and they indicated that they were unable to submit a bid for various reasons, including the holiday season. The City now will go out for bids a second time for the renovation project, which includes repairs to the HVAC system, ceilings, restrooms, sleeping quarters and day room.

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