(Lander, Wyo.) – The Lander City Council was reluctant on Tuesday evening to grant a request from the One Shot Antelope Hunt to waive Lander Community Center booking fees for the club. As currently set, the cost to reserve the entire building for a day is $750 and the club would need it for at least four days in September.
A number of the club’s board members attended Tuesday’s work session asking that the fees be waived, noting that the money hunters pay to participate barely covers costs without paying for for the community center. Prior to the original community center’s burning down, the city and One Shot had an agreement that the club did not have to pay to rent the facility. The club’s board, led by President Terry Martin, said this was because the club had helped pay for much of the construction of the original building.
Martin said the club’s ‘big brother’ organization the Past Shooter’s Club had help the past couple years pay for the tent rental, but that the hunt club itself needed to be self sufficient.
The club was hoping the tradition would continue with the new facility, but City Councilors were reluctant to grant any exceptions to the standard that all users should pay for its use.
While he said he thought the rental costs could be decreased across the board, Mayor Mick Wolfe said he thought the city should treat everyone equal with regard to paying. He said if they waived fees for One Shot, then fees would need to be waived for other donors from those who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to those who gave $50.
“Exemptions are where the slope starts to get slippery,” Councilman Cade Maestas said. He said that if the city waived fees for One Shot and no one else, that would be the city essentially selected the “premiere” club of the town.
Councilman Dan Hahn said he sympathized with the club, noting that it had an investment in the old building just like the city.
Because the city is taking few reservations before Oct. 1, the club will likely not be charged with the set-up and tear-down days. Per the policies around the around the booking fees, for any group if the set-up and tear-down days are not booked by others, they will not be charged for those days. Additional Maestas and Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud offered their assistance in finding outside funding for the rental.