On The Agenda: Firefighting Grant, Budget Trims, Building Fee Increases

By Beacon Staff

Kalispell City Council meets tonight for an informal work session in City Hall at 7 p.m. No votes are allowed at a work session. The four items on the agenda include:

–Council will determine how to best correct an oversight in tax collections between the city and the Flathead Soil Conservation District. Essentially, the district has not been collecting levies on unincorporated county land annexed into the city since 1947. The district is not seeking to collect any back taxes, but it wants to get its tax system on track now. The city has two options, it can join the Conservation District and have all its properties pay assessments, as well as receive the services of the district. Or, Kalispell can identify all annexed properties since 1947 and code them to begin paying

–The council will review budget changes for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 7 that trim the general fund from $11,350,998 to $10, 675,897 million, to cut back on some shortfalls.

–Acting Fire Chief Dan Diehl has coordinated a request for three additional firefighters through the SAFER grant program of the Department of Homeland Security. In his report to the council, Diehl wrote that the Kalispell Fire Department “is faced with a major staffing shortage,” as community growth outpaces the city’s budgeting ability to add additional staff. This grant, Diehl added, would be the quickest way to bolster staffing at the department if the city will match the federal funds.

–The city Planning Department proposes adjusting the building permit fee in such a way that the “construction value” increases from $70 to $100 per square foot, while reducing the fee schedule. This would decrease the fees on smaller projects, while increasing it on project valued at higher than $200,000. The Planning Department also proposes increasing the fee for plumbing and mechanical permits and adding a residential plan review fee.

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