Town Council mulls fee resolution

PINEDALE – The Pinedale Town Council reviewed a 2021 draft fee resolution that included several rate changes proposed by different departments at its regular meeting on Feb. 8.

The council did not take any action on the fee resolution Monday – the items were up for discussion only. The council plans to deliberate on a final resolution at its Feb. 22 meeting.

The resolution contains all the fees charged by the town for permits, licenses and water and sewer rates. A resolution requires a single reading, versus three readings for an ordinance, and allows the town more flexibility to revise rates, explained Mayor Matt Murdock.

Fees associated with creating subdivisions inside town limits were a primary focus. Abram Pearce, director of public works, presented a table comparing three new fee structures to the current rate schedule the town operates.

Pearce explained that the changes represented a “sequence of managed risk” – a revised timeline outlining specific payments due at each stage in the subdivision process. The new fee structures are intended to be “less cumbersome” for developers by scaling back the fees charged up front in case contingencies arise, Murdock added.

The town’s goal is to attract development with a competitive fee structure, Murdock said.

Pearce studied fees assessed by surrounding communities, including Sublette County, Jackson, Kemmerer and Driggs, Idaho, and found that Pinedale’s current fee structure were “pretty expensive when compared to other places” in the region.

The primary difference between the three proposed fee structures lay in the costs to file the final plat. The first two schedules included a set fee per lot. The third option consisted of a sliding scale based on the subdivision size, what Pearce called an “economy of scale,” with lower costs per lot for larger subdivisions.

Councilman Tyler Swafford stated that the tiered structure in the third option made the most sense.

Town Clerk-Treasurer Maureen Rudnick proposed increasing the fees for impounding “vicious” and quarantined dogs by $25 per day. Rudnick explained that situations requiring impounds were on the rise and cost the town in overtime staff hours.

In response to a question from Councilwoman Judi Boyce, Rudnick stated that town ordinances contained a “solid” definition of “vicious” dogs, and that a quarantined dog did not necessarily imply a “vicious” dog.

The council also looked at reservation fees and deposits for organizations to use town parks for events. Council members considered eliminating charge waivers for nonprofit and government organizations to use town facilities.

Murdock stated that it seemed redundant to charge nonprofits a fee, and then waive it. Rudnick agreed, stating that the current system required additional bookkeeping hours.

Boyce said that the library charges nonprofits a fee if they use they space to raise revenue. Swafford added that the library’s approach was reasonable, as long as rates were “not exorbitant” for nonprofits.

Cathy Freeman, a member of the public, voiced concern that organizations using the parks sometimes destroy property and littered, leaving taxpayers with the cleanup and repair costs. She recommended not waiving park use fees for non-profits.

Other town council news

  • The town approved amendments in two ordinances concerning fee arrangements and filing requirements for subdivisions on third and final reading.
  • Councilmembers agreed in principal to support a rapid response plan developed by the Wyoming Game and Fish to detect dreissenid mussels in Fremont Lake. Hilda Sexauer, regional fish supervisor for the Game and Fish, said that the mussels were an invasive species and if they started to populate Fremont Lake, the consequences could be “disastrous” for the town’s drinking water.
  • The council unanimously passed a resolution decreasing the dates liquor license holders are allowed to operate 24 hours from five to four. Following testimony from Freeman, speaking for bartenders in the community, the council decided to remove St. Patrick’s Day from the list and retain Brew Fest.
  • After a public hearing with no objections, the council approved liquor licenses for more than a dozen local companies. Councilman Dean Loftus abstained from the vote.
  • The council discussed proposals to revise policies related to merchants and food trucks operating on town property.


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