Fee waiver denied for immigration rally

By ALEX KOMSTHOEFT/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Commission denied the request to wave the assembly fees for the “Keeping Families Together Rally” Monday.

The Montana Organizing Project, who is hosting the event on May 1, will advocate immigration rights in Lindley Park. Reserving the location is expected to cost approximately $1,000.

“I don’t see any preponderance of evidence that we should change out policy, because I think it’s for the benefit of the people who use our parks,” Commissioner Chris Mehl said at the meeting,

Mayor Sean Becker said that the fee is “not too expensive” and that the fee is intended to recoup some of the city’s costs of accommodating the event. The motion was voted down 3-to-1.

Carson Taylor was the only commissioner in favor of waiving the fee. By adjusting the city fees, groups could apply for cheaper permits for the rally close to Main Street, according to Taylor.

There are currently 400 people signed up for the immigration rally, but could they are expecting up to 1,000, according to organizer Elizabeth Marum. It costs roughly four times more the reserve the park than close Main Street, but Marum said it is “onerous and like it’s punitive to try and be a good partner by not closing Main Street and by using the park and other facilities, and so that is why I would request a waiver.”

Bozeman set fees in 2007 for park reservations and Main Street closures based on what it costs the city, but commissioners said this is the first time this particular issue has been addressed.

Also discussed on Monday evening at the meeting was the plan to close Bogert Pool at the end of the season in hopes of building a new splash park as its replacement.

The plan is to complete the project at the park by the summer of 2014, according to City Manager Chris Kikilshi.

 – Edited by Kaylee Walden

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