City ups event fee to $110

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Those wishing to hold a special event in Whitefish will now have to pay a $110 fee to obtain an event permit from the city.

A special event permit is required for use of a city right of way — such as street and sidewalk closures — or use of a park facility.

Previously the city charged the event permit fee based on the size of the event — small events were charged $20, unless a street was closed then it was $40 and large events were charged $125 or $100 for nonprofits.

City Council Oct. 2 approved the flat fee, no matter the size of the event or if put on by a nonprofit group.

City Attorney Angela Jacobs recently reviewed the city’s event permit fee structure and recommended the changes.

“While a government can’t profit from events, they can charge for the costs that they incur,” Jacobs said. “That’s largely for administration of the permit and staff time. The fee is designed to cover our costs.”

Jacobs said the cost of the permit reflects the time it takes city staff to review the permits. Nonprofits don’t receive a discount, but it still takes the same amount of staff time to review those permit applications, she noted.

The city in August approved an update to the city’s event ordinance that created new regulations for event permits to include changes in the law.

Under the ordinance, a permit is required when the event involves the use or closure of a street, park property in conjunction with the use of non-park property, when it includes the sale or consumption of alcohol on public property, if it will interfere with the use of the public right-of-way and if the event is for the use of park or city property for an event involving more than 75 people.

In addition, the ordinance provides certain exemptions for events that involve expressive activity.

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