Hall rental, other fees, may rise in Coupeville

A popular place to hold parties and events could become twice as expensive for people to use.

The Coupeville Town Council is considering raising the fee charged for renting the popular Coupeville Recreation Hall.

The proposal calls for raising the fee to $50 for three hours and then $10 per hour after that until it caps at $100.

“Essentially that is twice as much as we’re charging,” Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said of the $50 fee. The hall charge is one of a number of the fees officials are considering to raise as they develop the town’s 2009 budget. Currently the town charges $25 to rent the facility that is located at the corner of Coveland and Alexander.

Councilman Bob Clay said during Tuesday’s town council meeting that costs surrounding the operation of the Recreation Hall are increasing. Even with the new rental fee officials say the hall is still the most affordable facility in the area.

“It is the cheapest thing around,” Conard said.

The Recreation Hall is so cheap that it attracts use from people outside of town. Some council members queried whether the town could charge more for out-of-town users, but Conard said it would be difficult to enforce.

“We have no prohibition to having out of town people use the rec hall,” Conard said.

Councilwoman Molly Hughes questioned why a damage deposit isn’t included in the new fee list. Conard said that people damaging the Recreation Hall after an event would be charged for repairs or be prohibited from ever renting the facility again.

Councilwoman Ann Dannhauer questioned if Park Impact Fees could be used to subsidize Recreation Hall operations.

The proposed new fee schedule also includes increasing several of the nonresidential Shoreline Permits ($1,000 and $1,500 from $750), Environmental Impact Statement Preparation ($2,000 plus direct costs from $500), Latecomer’s Agreement ($2,000 up from $250) and doubling the Conditional Use Permits for nonresidential zones.

Conard said the increases will more accurately reflect the cost of staff time needed to process applications.

The proposed fee increases are only part of the mix as officials work to develop the town’s 2009 budget.

Conard said, like many other cities, Coupeville has to deal with declining revenue in 2009.

The Coupeville Town Council will hold a special workshop, Thursday, Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. to examine a draft of the proposed budget. Then a public hearing concerning the 2009 budget, revenue sources and property tax levy will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29.

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