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Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Council juggles Hailey’s fees

Some go up, some come down

By Pat Murphy
Express Staff Writer

Fees in various forms drew the attention of the Hailey City Council Monday night as it began finalizing the city’s financial affairs for the next fiscal year.

Fees associated with construction, fire and building inspections, building permit and plan review, for example, are being adjusted upward and will be included in an ordinance to be presented at the council’s Aug. 9 meeting.

As an example of the change, as outlined by City Engineer Tom Hellen and building official Dave Ferguson, the current fees associated with construction of a 1,500-suare foot home now total $1,851, but would rise to $2,377 under the revised increases tentatively approved by the council.

But Mayor Susan McBryant and council members agreed the city should amend its fee schedule for events and give a break to nonprofit organizations.

A fee schedule that was to have become effective in October would have treated for-profit events the same as non-profits--all would have been required to pay a $125 application fee and $500 a day for the duration of an event.

But the council agreed unanimously to remove the $500-a-day fee for nonprofit groups, and impose just the $125 application fee and a refundable security deposit to cover any damages to city park facilities.

"There’s an intrinsic benefit to living in a town where things are going on," McBryant said, suggesting that Hailey needs to encourage groups to sponsor events that create a public interest in Hailey as well as create a sense of community for residents.

Councilman Rick Davis said that the city’s problem with abuse of the parks is not with organized events, but with events that just happen--weddings, family reunions--where people do not apply for city permission.

As a footnote to the discussion, City Administrator Jim Azumano pointed out that "the city contributes to events" with fire and police and streets personnel on duty, some paid overtime.

By removing the daily event fee for nonprofit groups, the city budget for 2004-2005 will lose about $10,000, Azumano told the council.

The new budget, which will be discussed at an Aug. 16 public hearing to be held in the Old Blaine County Courthouse, is tentatively set at $10,830,911.

Bryant suggested to the council that members "take out your sharp pencils" and continue to look for ways of reducing expenses, if possible.


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