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Whitefish tables increase in park fees

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Jan 08 2013 07:15:43 PM MST
WHITEFISH, Mont. -

For Sweet Peaks' Marissa Keenan, participating in events like the Whitefish Farmers Market is a way to unite the community.

"It's really vital to a lot of the farmers, vendors, and businesses at the market as a way of attracting people to the area," said Keenan.

It's also a way to help smaller businesses make a little extra on the side.

"We're such a seasonal town that the extra boost we get from vending at the markets is really helpful," said Naked Noodle's Sonja Burgard.

And after a heated public hearing, Whitefish City Councilors decided to set aside a proposal that would ask event hosts to pay a $500 per event support fee, and a sliding scale event size fee based on the number of vendors. Parks and Recreation said they review the fee structure yearly, hoping to maintain a balance between the cost of producing services and the fees that are charged for such services.

But vendor's wallets, like those at the farmers market, could be severely impacted by an increase.

"You've got people that set up and they're out there giving it a shot," Burgard explained, "and what may seem so little to some people for an increase would actually be a lot to them."

"A fee will affect people who are able to come to that market and able to sell everything from vegetables to their bracelets and wares," said Keenan.

But both are confident the city will review the proposal and come to a better resolution next month. Councilors will table the resolution until a work session on February 19th.