DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A Special Events Task Force met for the first time on Wednesday night to create a plan to handle unsanctioned events like Truck Meet. In June, it brought tens of thousands of visitors and city leaders called it an uncontrollable mess.
“We don’t need to rehash what the problem is and I will demand that we focus on what the solution will be,” Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry said.
Henry is moderating the meeting of leaders from across Volusia County and residents. He called Truck Meet an invasion, with large trucks rumbling through the day and night, and many acting recklessly.
“It wasn’t just Daytona Beach that was impacted but all of Volusia County. Especially, all beachside communities,” he said.
The three-day party that starts at the speedway and trickles out at night brought 40,000 people to Volusia in June this year.
Police said just in Daytona Beach, about 940 citations were issued on top of 52 arrests and there was a shooting.
Henry said law enforcement across the county will develop a plan to handle unpermitted events.
“Then, we as politicians have to work on petitioning and lobbying in Tallahassee to give us a greater degree of rules and things we can do,” he said.
Business owners in Daytona Beach like Richard Kitt, owner of Daytona Tap Room and other bars and restaurants along Seabreeze, called the event unruly.
“We had it the previous year and it was about the same outcome, disorganization and traffic jams,” Kitt said.
Kitt said if there’s an organized plan and rules laid out, though, it should be welcomed.
“You don’t have to like it but they’re bringing money to town and they’re coming to town whether we like it or not so let’s just be prepared for it,” he said.
The chaos cost police $178,000 in overtime. Group leaders are looking to double fines for bad behavior.