City of Glendale looks at fee changes

About 300 city fees may be increased and roughly 100 new ones may be created as the City Council prepares to vote on Glendale's budget for next fiscal year.

Proposed changes include:

— Increasing the vehicle impound-release fee from $7 to $70

— Bumping up the tobacco retail sales permit and license fee from $332 to $555.86

— Creating a new $3,000 fee for renting the newly renovated Brand Library & Art Center for nonresidents and a $2,500 charge for residents

— Boosting the fee for permitted street parking in preferential zones from $25 to $31.66

— Upping the sidewalk-dining permit fee from $150 to $200 and the renewal fee from $50 to $75

The sidewalk dining permit, which is required to have tables set up outside a restaurant, has been one of the most controversial fee changes in recent years. When the City Council boosted the fee, which had historically been set at $50, to $650 in 2011, there was backlash from restaurateurs.

As a result, officials held multiple public hearings with businesses and set the fee at $150.

Several development and construction fees, such as a permit to construct a right-of-way, vacate an alley and multiple plan checks, may also face a revamp.

The fees could be phased in over three years, according to a city report.

The proposed fees stem from a 128-page city study that found many fees are out of whack with the actual full cost of operating the services paid by the fee. For example, the total cost to provide the service connected to doling out the sidewalk dining fee is $804.20, according to the study.

City Manager Scott Ochoa told the council during a budget study session this week they should seek a balance between the full cost of the fee and what people will pay. In addition, through the fees, the city should encourage some activities, such as sidewalk dining, which adds vibrancy to an area, and discourage others, he said.

Officials have proposed decreasing roughly 50 fees and maintaining more than half of the city's approximately 2,100 fees at the same price, according to a city report.

Glendale's total budget for all funds for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, is planned to be $833 million, up by about $95 million from last year, according to a city report.

The proposed general fund budget, which pays for fire, parks and other general services, is slated to be roughly $182 million, increasing by approximately $11 million compared to last year.

The council is scheduled to adopt the budget, and the proposed fees, on June 30.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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