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Polson raises several Parks and Recreation fees

by SCOT HEISEL
Lake County Leader | October 7, 2021 12:15 AM

The city of Polson has a new fee schedule for its Parks and Recreation Department.

The new fees were approved on a unanimous vote during the Polson City Commission’s meeting Monday night. They set the cost for renting out shelters for special events in the city’s parks, for holding events with alcohol and special-use requests. They also set the cost of annual passes at Polson Bay Golf Course.

Parks and Recreation Director Pat Nowlen said the city had sought sharp increases across the board for such fees back in 2017.

“That wasn’t very popular,” Nowlen said. “So the Commission asked for increases that were more gradual. Now we’re approaching the numbers originally laid out in 2017.

The new schedule raises the cost of renting a park shelter by $5 for a partial day, and by $10 for a full day, so daylong rentals now range from $70 to $105 depending on size and capacity.

Special-use permits for large gatherings, including weddings, are rising by $25 to $75 per day for 75-100 people or $100 for 101-500 people.

The new schedule also adds a $5 administrative fee when a refund is requested for a reservation and a $20 nonrefundable event fee.

Nowlen said the city conducted rate comparisons back in 2017 that included towns in “most of western Montana, with a few others thrown in.”

Golf passes were raised by about 4%, rounded to nearest $5, according to Nowlen. The cost of an adult season pass, for example, goes up to $715 from $695. Couples passes and millennial couples passes are going up slightly more because due to an error they were not raised enough last year.

There was no increase to any of the junior golf passes.

Nowlen said the number of passes sold had been steady for several years, “until last year, when we saw a bit of an increase” as the county’s population rose.

Last month the Commission adjusted fees related to annexation, zoning, special-use requests, planning reviews, animal management and inspections, and other categories, but Parks and Recreation fees were not considered at that time.

A public hearing on the new fee schedule preceded Monday’s meeting. There were no public comments during the hearing, and City Manager Ed Meece said the city did not receive any written comments.

All current members of the commission voted to approve the schedule, except Tony Isbell of Ward 2 and Jan Howlett of Ward 1, who were not present.

In other business, the Commission voted unanimously to appoint Polson resident Brenna Fulks to the nine-seat City-County Planning Board. Fulks is the director of the Community Development Center at Mission West Community Development Partners. Her term runs through Dec. 31, 2022.