July 2012 – Chamber Committee studies City service fees

City Council continues debate on increase to service fees; Sets public hearing on July 17, 2012 City Council Meeting

Recently, the Redlands Daily Facts newspaper published news articles on the City of Redlands proposal to increase certain service fees, ranging from pet adoption to building permits and construction.  At its City Council June 25, 2012 Fee Study Workshop, the Redlands Chamber of Commerce Fee Analysis Task Force, presented a list of questions for city staff, MGT of America, Inc. (Fee Study Consultants),  and/or the City Council to provide answers or clarification and supportive documentation/data.  The memoranda and the list of questions are attached at the end of this briefing.

As the Redlands Chamber of Commerce, representing the business community, the concern remains that our community will shoulder the burden of the City’s increase in fees while others receive and continue to enjoy general fund subsidies.

The “Economic & Policy Considerations” contained on Page 3 of the Consultant’s “revised June 21, 2012” report remain essentially unanswered as these considerations relate to the business community, the possible deterrent to establishment of new businesses and creation of  jobs, and an impediment to economic activity and vitality, all of which will reduce general fund revenues to the city and the level and quality of services to our community.

Please voice your concerns at the July 17th, 2012 City Council public hearing on proposed  Fee Increase Resolution and ask the City Council where are the economic programs and incentives to support the business community.

 Date:          June 25, 2012

To:             City of Redlands City Council

From:         Redlands Chamber of Commerce Fee Analysis Task Force

Subject:     Fee Study Workshop, Comments and Recommendation for

                   Continuance to August or September 2012 City Council meeting

 The Redlands Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) supports the City of Redlands(“Council”) in its efforts to update and complete its cost of services study in order to accurately report the true cost of providing various fee-related services to offset or eliminate any general fund subsidy in providing these services.  However, to understand and ascertain the accuracy of the data and the study methodology, the Chamber request that the Council continue the Public Hearing and action on this matter until its August or September Meeting.

 The additional time will provide the Chamber and its membership the opportunity to exam specific details of the study, the methodology, and allow a review of the Fee comparison with other cities as provided by MGT of America, Inc., in the June 21, 2012 revision copy.  The Chamber intends to compare this comparison with another similar report completed by the Kosmont-Rose Institute Survey which indicated that Redlands was “High” in terms of the cost of doing business and whether the recommended increase in fees and the addition of “new fees” would be a deterrent to the establishment of new businesses and industries and be counter to the city’s promotion of economic development, business retention, and economic activities that provides general fund revenues and jobs to the community.

 The Kosmont-Rose Institute Survey reported that two nearby cities were in the top of the list of least expensive cities to do business.  The cities are the City ofHesperiaand the Town ofApple Valleywhereas the cities of Fontana and San Bernardino were at the top of the most expensive cities in the area to do business in.

 The following page contains specific questions for Council, staff, and MGT to address with the Chamber.

Fee Study Questions and Comments 

  1. Will the Council revisit the policy issue of cost recovery of recreation fees?

     Collecting 100% of adult services

     Increasing other services      4-10%


2.  When was the date gathered? NPDES date suggests that the city   completely subsidizes this program. Fees are being collected and have been.

3. Why the significant subsidizing in dog license vs. business license? $48K vs.$9K

4. How much does it cost to review plans?

5. What do you mean by “plan review”, “construction”, and “inspection”? There appears to be redundancy.

6. Fire cost recovery ….what is it?

7. Is there a file of 2007/2006 fees that was used as a base? 

8. What is our break even?

9. Why are new fees included in the study? Should they not be considered independently? They appear to suggest the City is already subsidizing these costs.

10. Have some of the “new fees” been applied since the study? NPDES fees    are currently being collected yet not reflecting payment.

 It was agreed that Measure U must be an important part of the discussion as it will have a significant impact on fees and our ability to be competitive.