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Friday April 2, 2004

News

Fee increases hearing set Monday in Ketchum


By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum City Council members Monday, April 5, will conduct a public hearing to consider a range of fee increases for services provided by the Parks Department and the Planning Department.

After hearing public comments, council members are expected to consider adopting new fee schedules for both departments.

Due to the length of its agenda, the council will start the meeting at 4 p.m., in Ketchum City Hall, 90 minutes earlier than usual.

At issue are separate proposals formally issued last month by Parks and Recreation Director Kirk Mason and Planning Director Harold Moniz. Both department heads were asked by Mayor Ed Simon and the City Council to develop plans to increase city revenues by updating their fees.

Mason has proposed two sets of fee increases, one for city recreation programs and another for permits granting the exclusive use of city park facilities.

For city recreation programs, Mason has called for a sliding-scale fee structure that would increase by approximately $15 the cost for enrolling one child in three or more recreation programs.

As part of the proposal, scholarships would remain available to all children who could not afford the programs.

In the plan to increase park use fees, citizens would maintain their ability to freely visit city parks but would be asked to pay a fee to reserve a park facility for their exclusive use. Under the proposal, Ketchum residents would pay $30 per event and non-residents would pay $60 per event.

The Parks Department has estimated the fee increases would raise approximately $4,000 in the first year they are implemented. The department brings in approximately $40,000 per year in fees.

During a March 15 hearing on the proposed parks fees, no members of the public objected.

Councilwoman Terry Tracy, the former director the Parks Department, has vociferously opposed the fee increases for park use and recreation programs.

Council members Monday will also consider a broad set of fee increases for city planning services.

According to Moniz, the department has not raised its fees since 1996. The department brought in $51,000 in fee revenues in 2003.

The increases generally range from 25 to 30 percent for individual services rendered by city planners.

Councilman Baird Gourlay last month noted that the increases generally amount to less than 5 percent per year, given that fees have not been adjusted in at least eight years.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.





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