– The City Council voted unanimously Monday to adopt an updated
version of the city’s comprehensive fee schedule, although it will
hold off on a handful of the increases until they can be analyzed
GILROY – The City Council voted unanimously Monday to adopt an updated version of the city’s comprehensive fee schedule, although it will hold off on a handful of the increases until they can be analyzed further.
The vote approves all but six of the 75 or so changes proposed through the update of the city’s current fee schedule, which was created by Revenue and Cost Specialists LLC in 1989 and last updated in 2000.
But Council agreed to freeze six fees at the request of Councilman Al Pinheiro, who expressed concerns
about what he con-sidered dramatic in-creases and how they were analyzed by the city.
“Some of these are just exorbitant,” said Pinheiro, who recently went through the city’s permit process while improving his real estate office at Church and First streets. “There are five or six we should leave as they are until we can look further.”
The purpose of the update is to keep the city’s fees updated with its operational costs, according to city officials. By law, the city can’t profit from its imposed fees and can charge no more than 100 percent of service costs. Some fees are heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
Examples of the changes that were approved include fees for adult winter softball teams that will rise from $225 per team to $250, a hike in youth soccer fees from $40 per player to $45 and a decrease in weekend nine-hole greens fees at the city’s golf course from $30 to $22.
Many of the changes withheld Monday concerned costs for building and remodeling permits proposed to double or even quadruple in cost. For example, a lot change was proposed to rise from $80 to $425 and a historic demolition permit from roughly $600 to at least $1,200.
“When we’re doubling fees, we need to show people why you were so far off,” Pinheiro said.
Pinheiro also expressed concern that the current cost for a certain type of variance review – over $1,200 – is already over double that of other cities, even before the $85 increase proposed through the schedule update.
In a prior study session, city staff cited swelling employee salaries and benefits as one reason for the increases. A performance audit focusing on staff processes surrounding the fees is scheduled to be completed in the spring.
The city may also explore a tiered system for certain fees that’s tied to the size of a project, staffers said.
The approved fee changes will take effect 60 days from the vote.
Pinheiro stressed that he or his remodeling project will not benefit personally from the fee changes. Councilman Roland Velasco was absent from the meeting.