Helena, Mont., is considering charging commercial developers a construction fee on projects to fund public art.
The City Commission has asked its attorney to provide an opinion on whether it has the authority to assess the fee. The fee would apply to new construction or alteration of nonresidential buildings of at least 20,000 sf.
A current proposal would assess the fee at 1% of the construction cost. Developers with projects large enough to incur a fee greater than $25,000 would have the option to have public artwork placed on the site instead of paying. The art would have to be visible from the street or sidewalk, or be placed in an open area of a development that is accessible to the public.
One commissioner estimated that a 1% fee could yield $670,000 for the city over two years.