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Polson adjusts fee schedule in place since 2016

by SCOT HEISEL
Lake County Leader | September 16, 2021 12:30 AM

Starting Oct. 1, the cost of doing some business in Polson is going up.

The Polson Commission amended its fee schedule by resolution during its Sept. 8 meeting, which was rescheduled for a Wednesday due to the Labor Day holiday.

The adjustments affect several — though not all — fees related to annexation, zoning, special-use requests, planning reviews, animal management and inspections, among other categories.

Parks and Recreation fees were not included in the adjustments. The city intends to address those fees later this fall.

Finance Officer Cindy Dooley said about 10 years ago the city reduced all fees on its schedule.

“The climate was such that they were hoping it would promote more development on the residential side,” Dooley said.

In 2016 commissioners returned the fee schedule to prior levels except the impact fees for parks, which have been charged at a 40% discount since the last major adjustment. That discount will no longer be in effect after Oct. 1, when the impact fees for parks for a single-family development go up from $612 to $1,020 and fees for all other housing types rise from $483.60 to $806.

Examples of other fees that are going up include:

  • petition for zoning text amendment, from $500 to $1,000 plus $10 per acre and adjoining landowners’ notification fee per address;
  • special-use permit pre-application, from $150 to $200;
  • subdivision review, from $150 to $200;
  • dog and cat licenses, from $10 to $15;
  • plumbing permit (except water heater replacement) from $30 to $35.

The resolution also creates several new fees for some administrative services (copies), permits related to film production, an excavation permit fee of $50 and fines for pet impoundment at city facilities.

The new fee schedule passed on a unanimous 4-0 vote, with Commissioners Jan Howlett, Tony Isbell and Brodie Moll absent.

The vote on the resolution followed a comment period leading up to a public hearing on the fee schedule held right before the regular commission meeting. No one offered public comment during the hearing or the meeting.

The new fee schedule is included as an attachment to the agenda for the Oct. 8 meeting, which is available at www.cityofpolson.com/meetings.

In other business, City Manager Ed Meece said the city’s Marijuana Task Force has been working on licensing structures and other strategies for the upcoming introduction of recreational marijuana sales. Meece said he expects many of the task force’s conclusions and suggestions will be presented during the commission’s Oct. 18 meeting.

Several documents related to the task force’s work are available on the city manager’s page of the city’s website.

Meece said the Oct. 18 meeting also is expected to include discussion of the city’s business license ordinance.

Commissioners also approved a second and final reading of an ordinance to expand the city’s Economic Development Council from seven members to 10, with permanent seats for representatives of the Polson Chamber of Commerce, the Polson Business Community and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The ordinance also passed on a unanimous vote.

Finally, commissioners voted to reject a request by the Polson School District for an impact fee redetermination related to a water line connection on the Linderman Middle School property. The fee in question is for more than $18,000. Aside from the merits of the district’s request, Meece pointed out that the application was missing several required documents, including a statement from an engineer, data supporting the request and receipt of payment (since the fee was never paid).

“Impact fees are supposed to be paid before the negotiation process is initiated,” Meece said.

Prior to the meeting an Impact Fee Review Board recommended on a 5-0 vote to deny the district’s request for redetermination of the impact fee.

The commission agreed on a unanimous vote.

The Polson City Commission next meets at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20. Agendas and instructions for attending the meetings remotely via Zoom are available at www.cityofpolson.com/meetings.