At its September 23 meeting, the Stevensville Town Council reconsidered and approved Resolution 491, adoption of a master fee schedule. At the previous meeting the council had sent the schedule back to Mayor Brandon Dewey for modification. In particular, they objected to the increase in the Special Event Permit Fee as it applied to the Stevensville Farmers Market and asked for the farmers market to receive special consideration. The Farmers Market Event Fee was modified from a per-event fee to a $100 fee that is all-inclusive for the entire season. The Special Event Permit Fees were modified from the proposed blanket fee of $150 to $50 for 0-500 people, $100 for 500-1000, and $150 for 1000+ people. The same applies to Special Use of Parks. Park Pavilion rentals have gone up from $20 to $30 for residents and from $30 to $50 for non-residents. Bonfire permits, formerly $25, are now $50.
The mayor said that he used the City of Hamilton fees as a template for the new fee schedule. Although Council member Paul Ludington commented that he didn’t think the land use related fees were in line with Hamilton, the mayor said he took Hamilton’s fees “from a community development schedule and plugged them into this schedule so they should be exact or similar… they were verbatim.”
Council member Jaime Devlin said, “The perception is that we’re re-charging someone for a service that they’re already paying for. But when we go to a state or a federal park, we have to pay. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay.”
The mayor agreed that the fees are “for services we’re providing above and beyond what basic government provides.”
In public comment, Victoria Howell, Civic Club treasurer, said the club had met and talked about some things they wanted to do with money they raised at the Creamery Picnic. She said two of the items were connected to these fees. One, the stages, both of which are in bad repair. The Civic Club is planning to invest in the stages, replacing the floors and doing anything else required. She said at least one of the stages, and perhaps both, actually belongs to the Civic Club. “I just think that should be considered because we want to make those stages better and hope that will be considered when the special permit comes up,” said Howell. She said Civic Club also wants to invest in upgrading the electric panels at the park to accommodate more food trucks. “I’m not asking for anything in particular,” Howell told the council. “Just to be aware that the Civic Club wants to invest in the infrastructure. We use that infrastructure to raise money to put money back into the town. It’s a big circle.”
The stages are stored on town property and town staff has moved and set up the stages in recent years because the club doesn’t have enough volunteers. Devlin said the involvement of Civic Club should be taken into consideration when the permits are applied for.
The mayor said he hoped that some of the money that will come from electric panel usage fees could go back into upgrading the electrical power on Third Street for events downtown.
The amended fee schedule was adopted unanimously.
New fees include Special Event Application Fee, $20. Special Events with Alcohol will pay an additional $200. Special event road closures are $25 per block; Stage Set-up/Moving Fee is $100; Event Power Panel, $20/panel. New group rental fees at the pool are $50/hour for up to 20 swimmers; $70/hour for 21-40 swimmers; $90/hour for 41-60 swimmers. Cost for an extra lifeguard for parties over 61 people is $25/hour.
Grave or cremation spaces for town residents have gone up from $300 to $500, and from $500 to $750 for non-residents.
Some of the biggest increases are related to land use. Zoning change application fee is up from $450 to $850; Conditional use permit application fee is up from $450 to $650; Variance application fee is up from $450 to $750; Appeal application fee is up from $450 to $750; Annexation application fee is up from $750 to $1000; Minor subdivision preliminary plat application and review is up from $750 to $1200 plus $40/lot; Minor subdivision final plat review is up from $50 to $200; Major subdivision preliminary plat application and review fee is up from $900 to $2000 plus $40/lot; and Major subdivision final plat review is up from $350 to $500 plus $10 per lot. New fees in the land use category are Minor subdivision pre-application review, $200; Major subdivision pre-application review, $400; Plat filing deadline extension, $100, and Re-phasing request, $450.
The council considered Resolution 495, which the mayor explained as “the initial stages of a process the Town is undertaking in declaring a piece of property as surplus.” The property is located in the Home Acres Orchard No. 3 Subdivision southeast of Stevensville. In a budget workshop, the council expressed interest in disposing of this property, a gravel pit which has not been used for a long time, in order to raise needed revenue for the Town. The mayor said that the Town gets higher quality material through an agreement with Ravalli County. “We don’t use this property at all,” he said.
Citizen Jim Crews had submitted a letter regarding the agenda item, stating in part, “There should be a hearing regarding this sale, in the full public view, with all the details of the potential sale exposed in public for all to see and hear with public comment before you make a decision to sell this property.” He asked for his letter to be read into the record but the mayor declined to do that.
According to Mayor Dewey, the Town paid $23 for the property in 1943. He said it was perhaps worth about $150,000 now.
“If you authorize this resolution, we would move forward with the listing and bring back any offers to the council,” said Mayor Dewey.
Council member Jaime Devlin said that the council wasn’t authorizing the sale, they were “authorizing the property to be put up for sale.” However, the language of the resolution was not changed and the council unanimously approved Resolution 495, “authorizing the sale of 6.47 acres of Town owned land/property…”
In other business, the council:
• unanimously approved Resolution 492, annexing a 2-acre property at 607 Park Avenue. The property already is serviced by the Town’s water system and the property owner wants to connect to the sewer. The property is currently zoned R1/R2. The landowner proposes to build four 4-plex units, which would have to be reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Board. Mayor Dewey said the annexation will help the Town to acquire the necessary Park Avenue right-of-way for a planned sewer line extension.
• unanimously approved a lease agreement with Dustin Cumming for Lot 3, Block 2 at Stevensville Airport;
• unanimously approved a contract with Cote & Associates for preparing the Town’s Annual Financial Report and Financial Statement;
• unanimously approved Resolution 493, declaring the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day and encouraging other institutions to recognize this day in honor of the indigenous people who traditionally lived in the area;
• unanimously approved Resolution 494, amending the wages and compensation of elected and appointed officers and all employees, making all honorariums the same for everyone;
• unanimously approved Resolution 496, requesting distribution of Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Program funds from the State of Montana.
In his executive report, the mayor clarified that outsourcing the utility billing was costing the Town less money, not more money, a rumor currently circulating in the community, and also offered the citizens more options, including paperless billing.
Starting October 4, residents can dump organic debris at Lewis & Clark Park for disposal. There will be no curbside pickup. If residents need help in disposing of debris, contact Town Hall at 777-5271 to be connected with volunteers who will help. Open burning starts October 1.