Residents seek relief from park fees

Discussion held at April 16 meeting of Wyoming City Council


Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

The Wyoming City Council’s meeting on April 16 included a discussion on a recently adopted park fee schedule.

At the first January meeting the council unanimously approved a fee schedule for field and pavilion reservation. The Park and Recreation Board had made the proposal to help offset park maintenance, particularly on heavily used fields.

The fees for soccer, football, softball and baseball fields were set at $10 for two hours. For tournaments, the fee established was $150 for each field, per day.

Former Wyoming Mayor Neil Gatzow on April 16 spoke against the policy, particularly for children playing T-ball. There was no notification of the Forest Lake Area Athletic Association. He said there are no such fees at other local fields and asked that the council reconsider fees, at least for 2013.

Barb Hanson, area athletic association coordinator for Wyoming, told the council that registration was half over when she was notified of the fee. The registration fees pay to run the K-6 league. It covers shirts, equipment at each field, softballs, tournaments and wages for umpires. There are no salaries. Hanson said the kids practice in their own cities. The organization is willing to pay fees when hosting games.

Councilman Roger Elmore recommended Hanson attend the next Park Board meeting and ask that the board waive fees. The final say lies with the council, Councilwoman Linda Yeager said. The next Park Board meeting is May 6.

Bond Policy

The council adopted a procedure and policy regarding government bonds. The action relates primarily to maintaining accurate records of how bond proceeds are spent. Cities are required to keep a clear record for the duration of a capital project documenting how dollars are used to complete the work.

The goal is transparency in reporting how tax-exempt bond proceeds are spent. The document also identifies the responsible compliance officer, City Administrator Craig Mattson.

Regulations mandate compliance during the life of a bond issue, not just at the outset. Any noncompliance may result in increasing debt service costs to the municipality.

The local action is a result of increasing IRS monitoring and enforcement of tax-exempt bond sales. The action anticipates bonds that may be sold to finance any street or utility reconstruction projects. Approval was unanimous.

Other Business

In other business, the council approved the payment for the shortfall for the city’s Easter egg hunt to come from the receipts in the gambling fund. There were contributions from local businesses and residents totaling $800. Equipment rental, supplies and prizes totaled $803.72, and overtime pay was an additional $158.58. In the future, efforts to will be made to modify the work schedule so there is not staff overtime involved. The organizers will try to modify the activities to more closely match contributions.

Councilman Joe Zerwas reported that the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Commission approved the purchase of a Ford F450 pickup, with telescoping mechanical features. Cost is $102,040.20. It replaces a much older vehicle, which will be kept in reserve for emergencies. The CR-19 bridge work will begin in June.

The council unanimously approved a resolution amending the city’s zoning ordinance. It creates a zoning area of “closed landfill restricted district” within the city. The rezoning is the sealed landfill in the eastern part of the city. The Planning Commission reviewed the draft ordinance and unanimously recommended approval. The public hearing has been held.