Meeting with Slidell krewe captains on Tuesday, the city’s events committee proposed that krewes pay the city 25 percent of their parade costs in 2011, with their contribution increasing to 50 percent the second year and to 75 percent in three years.

“Everyone calls Mardi Gras the largest free party in the world but it’s not free,” Slidell City Councilman Bill Borchert said.

After krewe captains noted that many of their members have already paid dues for next year, the committee agreed not to have any new fees go into effect until the 2012 Carnival season.

“We’re getting to the point where we can’t afford it anymore,” Slidell Councilman Landon Cusimano said. “It’s this or nothing at all.”