Downey expects to raise $247K with fee hikes

DOWNEY - Hoping to raise revenue for the coming fiscal year, which includes atypical layoffs and reduced spending, the Downey City Council last Tuesday agreed to raise and create new fees on several city services ranging from building permits to park facility rentals.The new fee schedule affects nearly every city department and is expected to generate more than $247,000 in revenue during the 2012-13 fiscal year. Noting the absence of Councilman David Gafin, the council unanimously approved the detailed fee resolution, which includes 46 fee increases, 71 deleted fees, and 68 new fees, most notably pertaining to the Downey Civic Theater and recreation department. The recreation department alone will introduce 22 new fees next fiscal year while increasing eight other existing fees. Several of the new fees, however, will affect non-residents who register for Downey recreation classes or rent indoor park facilities. As new programs and services become available, costs at the Downey Theater are also scheduled to increase with a total of 22 new fees and charges next year. According to city officials, the changes in fees are related to a more detailed list of charges for specific personnel support at the theater. For example, hourly rates are now listed for the technical director, stage manager, sound technician, house managers, and stagehand. Overall, the city is expected to collect $186,385 in revenues from recreation and theater fee increases alone. The Columbia Memorial Space Center will also introduce eight new shipping fees for its online gift store. The estimated revenue total is $1,000 per year. New fees and fee increases are listed in the departments of building and safety, fire, public works, and planning, which will forgo 27 fees in order to adopt 18 fee increases and eight new fees. The city attorney's office will garner a $5,000 increase for legal service fees, just a fraction of the 668 city fees for service that will generate over $9.9 million for the city during the 2012-13 fiscal year. Every year the city reviews its fee schedule to ensure each fee for service covers the actual cost to perform that service. According to a city staff report, many of the fees do not cover the full cost of city operations, but the annual review allows city officials to keep the deficit from increasing.

********** Published: July 05, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 12