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
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
"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
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.