Increased fees for planning and construction services
The El Dorado County Planning and Building Department has increased service fees to enhance cost recovery.
Planning and construction staff requested raises based on a cost recovery analysis conducted by NBS Government Finance Group Inc., which conducted the study to examine revenue shortfalls. NBS determined that Planning and Construction recovers approximately 68% of the annual costs of providing services and presented its findings to the Board of Supervisors in August.
With the higher fees, Assistant Director of Planning and Building Chris Perry said utility recovery revenue will grow to 98% with the approval of the department’s new fee schedule.
Supervisors unanimously, somewhat reluctantly, approved the fee increase on October 24.
“As difficult as it is to approve cost increases, I think we need to do it from a recovery standpoint,” said District 1 Supervisor John Heidal. “Otherwise all taxpayers are subsidizing individual projects.”
Notably, rates for hourly planning services will increase by $79 versus a new flat fee of $219.
For the Tahoe area, the planning and building company has added a state stormwater permit redemption fee that will include a rate of $190 per hour. For vacation home rentals, the hourly fee was set at $190, and an additional VHR technology charge of $31 was determined to be necessary.
The department will also shift fees for certain services from a flat fee to a time and materials basis.
The construction service fee will increase slightly from $126 to $144 per hour to help position the department’s construction division with a 100% cost recovery rate, according to Berry.
The building fee multiplier, by which the cost of building permits is determined, is also receiving a fee update.
Code Enforcement charges a flat hourly fee of $107, plus a penalty fee and pre-site inspection fee of $107 per hour. This would enable the law enforcement department to recover costs by 82%, Perry told the board.
The VHR Law Enforcement appeal fee will increase to $1,000, of which $200 is for the actual appeal, but $800 will help with reimbursement.
“With our continued efforts to enhance our enforcement, we suspect there will be more appeals, and obviously that will increase staff time and we want to be able to capture that,” Perry told the board.
All other appeal fees will remain $200.
For the airport division, a 10-cent-per-gallon fuel flow fee applies and will be used in emergency situations and for any third-party fueling services outside the airport, Berry said. An hourly rate of $171 for airport fees also applied.
The hourly rate for cemetery services is also set at $189.
For technology projects licensed by the province, an additional fee will be added, which will cost 3.2% of the total project permit fee, in addition to a technology enhancement and improvement fee of 2.45% of the project permit cost.
A general plan implementation fee of 3.20% of the county permit/project fee was also approved. Employees expect a 25% cost refund when the charges are implemented.
Nine percent of that amount goes toward long-range planning, and the rest will go toward a comprehensive update to the overall plan that employees expect in the future.
“Even with 16% of this fund, it will not fund the entire general fund at this time,” Perry told the board. “General plans are expensive and 100% recovery would be expensive and (we) don’t necessarily think that’s the right thing to do.”
The fees will be collected in the next five years, when the general plan is intended to be updated.
A full breakdown of the fee schedule is available in the minutes of the October 24 Board of Supervisors meeting, which can be found at eldorado.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.