Iowa City city staff is considering adding a permit fee for organizers who put together large-scale public events in the city.
Adam Bentley, assistant to the city manager, suggested a fee range between $25-50 to the Iowa City City Council during their work session Tuesday. The fee would help recover time it takes staff to review permits and coordinate with departments like the Police Department to ensure safety during the events. Permits outside of city parks are reviewed by the City Manager's office.
“We don’t see a lot of recovery here but it does consider the time the staff puts in and the material costs,” Bentley said.
Most of the council said initiating a fee seemed like a good idea, however City Councilor Connie Champion questioned whether such a small fee was worth implementing.
“I have a hard time doing it because it’s such a pittance of money,” Champion said.
Bentley said the fee would only be for bigger events such as the Summer of the Arts or pride festival, road races, and parades. The fee would not apply to smaller groups less than 50 people. Bentley said staff could develop certain thresholds for when a fee would be required.
Phil Young, Running Wild’s Iowa City store manager, said the flat fee wouldn't prevent them from organizing a road race in the future. The store is working with the city for an upcoming series of downtown races to take place this fall. The first one will be a 3K race on Sept. 15.
“It sounds pretty reasonable,” Young said of the fee. “I’m especially for the effort and work that the city and local staff are putting forward to help us pull these things off.”
Bentley said other Iowa cities have a similar permit fee that ranges from $25-100, including Des Moines, Ames, Dubuque and Sioux City. Iowa City receives permit requests for about 70-100 larger events per year, he said.If a fee was put into place, the funds generated would go to the general fund for property tax relief, according to a memo to City Manager Tom Markus.