Council to look into fee waivers
To fee or not to fee: that is the question.
Whether it is nobler for the De Soto City Council to waive fees for certain groups or special events or just collect the money is a policy decision that will be talked about in the future.
During Thursday night’s regular De Soto City Council meeting three groups asked for fee waivers for their events.
On the agenda to have fees waived were the De Soto Chamber of Commerce, who wanted to have their cereal malt beverage permit fee waived for the annual country concert; the Prairie Traditional Archers, who wanted to have the temporary use permit application fee waived; and the De Soto VFW who wanted to have their temporary use permit application fee waived for their upcoming car show.
“It seems that every group comes and asks (the council) to waive their fees and we just unilaterally waive the fees,” Councilmember Mitra Templin said. “What’s the point of having the fees if we are going to waive them for every organization that comes before the council?”
Mayor David Anderson agreed with Templin’s comments, but said the waiver of the chamber’s beer permit fee was different because the country concert helps promote the city and brings in people from the area.
Councilmember Mike Drennon agreed with this statement from the mayor. He said he was concerned about charging the chamber money for fees when the city provides some money for the chamber.
“Technically (the chamber) isn’t a part of the city (government), but they are the marketing arm of the city,” he said. “I just think we would just be double dipping if we start charging them.”
Mitra didn’t disagree that at certain times fees should be waived. She suggested that fees be waived for the first year of any event to help the event, but should be charged in subsequent years to avoid setting a precedent.
“I’m just wondering how long are we going to keep doing it (waiving fees) because we’ve done it once,” she said. “If we are going to keep doing it than maybe we need to do away with the fee.”
The council agreed that these policy decisions would need to be hashed out in the future.
“This is a very good discussion that we need to have,” Anderson said.
In the end, after making a motion and voting for the approval of the chamber’s temporary use permit and waiving of the $50 application fee in a March 18 meeting, Templin was the dissenting vote in the waiving of the $75 cereal malt beverage permit fee.
As for the archers and the car show, they're going to have to pay up. The council made no motions to waive their temporary use permit application fees.
In other business Thursday the council:
• Unanimously approved the temporary use permit for the Prairie Traditional Archers for an event at the Widow Big Knife Park. They did not waive the application fee.
• Unanimously approved the temporary use permit for a car show at the De Soto VFW. The application fee was not waived.
• Unanimously approved a $500 donation request for Casey Jones for an Eagle Scout project to put a bell in front of the VFW. The council will have a future discussion on who will or won’t receive donations from the council.
• Met in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken.
• Received a water district update from Mike Brungardt, city engineer.