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Carson City to discuss raising fees

Jill Lufrano

To hold the Carson City Rendezvous last year at Mills Park, event organizers paid more than $2,400 in city fees to rent the park, pavilion, picnic tables, trash cans and other items.

Next year, that cost could climb by another $330 to pay for rising costs of city staff and operations, according to a proposal being considered by city officials.

“It would squeeze our budget tighter,” said organizer Maxine Nietz. “To put on an event is just expensive if you’re going to provide the public with free entertainment and free history.”

The Rendezvous, a yearly event to kick off summer, was extremely successful last year, drawing thousands more than expected when county music star Chris LeDoux played one night.

Even so, the costs to hold public events continues to increase, Nietz said.

In addition to paying for city rental costs, the group paid $4,500 for liability insurance for the weekend.

Nietz said she has always found city staff helpful at the events and can understand why they are asking for more money to cover costs.

Parks and Recreation commissioners will discuss raising fees for several events to “catch up” with costs, said department director Steve Kastens. Any decisions made by the commission today will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

“Because we’ve fallen a little bit behind in determining direct costs, we find ourselves in need of increasing some fees more than 15 percent,” Kastens said.

Two ideas will be on the table today. First, commissioners will be asked whether they think fees for nonprofit events held by nonresidents should be eliminated, instead charging full price for the events.

Staff is recommending the commission not change how nonresident, nonprofit events are charged for use of the Community Center.

The second issue before the commission involves allowing event fees to be raised more than the 15 percent currently allowed for one year only. The city is allowed to charge up to 25 percent of what it costs the department to operate the event at its parks or facilities.

“It would allow us to have them pay more in line with what it costs for us to provide the services,” Kastens said.

The extra increase would allow the city to charge $12.75, instead of $6, for rental of a wireless microphone, for instance; and $23.50, instead of $13.50, for rental of a television or DVD player.

It would also allow the city to charge the Rendezvous $478 a year, instead of $150, for the special event fee; Karson Kruzers would be charged $239, instead of $150, for the event; and the carnival would cost $338, instead of $150.

“I don’t think it’s going to cause (organizers) to cancel their event, but we definitely want to hear from them if they think it’s going to be an issue,” Kastens said.

Parks staff kept track of staff hours for all events this year to determine actual costs for the city, Kastens said.

Last year, the city collected $28,600 in fees from events renting out park space, the exhibit hall, stages, bleachers and other amenities. Arena fees amounted to $5,800, and the city took in $6,000 for equipment rentals and $52,000 for theater, gym, kitchen and room rentals at the Community Center.

Contact Jill Lufrano at 881-1217 or jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com.

IF YOU GO What: Parks and Recreation Commission’s regular meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.