The Lander City Council will hold a regular meeting and work session beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in the City Council Chambers at 240 Lincoln Street.
The agenda for the regular meeting includes two action items:
-a redistricting ordinance on second reading
-a resolution setting city fees
Volunteers from two local organizations – the Lander Old Timers Rodeo Association and the Central Wyoming Climbers Alliance – offered feedback on the proposed city fee schedule during a council meeting April 11.
At that time, the proposed fee for ticketed events at municipal rodeo or park facilities was set at 10 percent of gate sales, up to a maximum of $4,000.
“We think that this places too much financial burden and risk (on) any organization,” LOTRA president Paula McCormick said.
LOTRA only paid $300 per day to rent the rodeo arena before 2022, McCormick noted – or $600 total for the two-day event.
The city raised the fee last year, she explained, charging 10 percent of ticket sales at the gate with no maximum amount and garnering more than $5,100 from LOTRA.
“We do ask that the council consider something that is much more equitable,” McCormick said. “Something (like) the Fremont County Fairgrounds would charge us.”
It would cost LOTRA about $1,400 to rent the rodeo arena at the fairgrounds in Riverton for two days, LOTRA treasurer Julie Freese said – and that price includes facility preparation, a sound system, and an adequate number of bathrooms.
LOTRA has to rent additional toilets and a sound system to use Lander’s arena, McCormick said.
Lander City Councilmember John Larsen said the lack of a sound system and enough bathrooms at the city arena contributes to its being a “very under-utilized facility.”
“LOTRA comes in, they pony up $2,300 each year for a sound system, they’ve got $1,120 for extra (toilets),” he said. “If we’re going to have a real rodeo arena, we ought to have a real sound system (and) extra toilets. … I would see that that was a legitimate expense that the city ought to cover.”
Public works director Lance Hopkin pointed out that fees for facility rentals do not bring in enough money to support those kinds of projects, so if the council decided to install a sound system or additional bathrooms, or do any of the other $100,000-plus projects that have been identified at the rodeo grounds, they would also need to identify “where … those revenues (are) going to come from.”
“Right now, it can’t come out of the general fund without cutting a whole lot of other things,” Hopkin said.
The city could use some of its optional half percent sales tax revenues for economic development to cover the costs, he suggested, or they could develop “partnerships” within the community to help complete the work.
For now, assistant mayor RaJean Strube Fossen said the “easiest way” to keep the city fee schedule “consistent” for all users while also alleviating the extra expenses LOTRA takes on at the rodeo grounds would be to decrease the maximum fee for all arena and park rentals.
The fee schedule the council will consider this week includes a lower maximum fee of $2,000 for ticketed events at rodeo and park facilities.
Councilmember Missy White called it a “reasonable compromise for this year,” but she indicated that the city should be “letting folks know that incrementally it’s going to increase.”
“(People) want to have these nice facilities,” White said. “At some point we’ve got to start asking folks (to) help us cover the cost. … I don’t know how else we can make these things happen.”
The council will discuss the city’s 2023-2024 budget during Tuesday’s work session, which will begin immediately after the regular council meeting.
Both meetings are open to the public for in-person attendance and will be streamed live on Zoom (Meeting ID: 852 5758 2964 Passcode: 483801).
Past meeting recordings are available here.
For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.