City Council OKs fee increases for various Seal Beach city services

Goal is to recover costs for specific services

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The Seal Beach City Council officially and unanimously updated user and regulation fees for Public Works and Community Development services, following a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 13. Other fees will be addressed early next year, according to the staff report by City Treasurer/Finance Director Kelly Telford.

Telford gave the report prior to the public hearing, which was among her final acts as a Seal Beach official. Telford and her family will be moving out of state. She leaves the city’s employ at the end of the month.

The public hearing was brief. District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick opened the hearing after receiving the staff report. City Clerk Gloria Harper reported that there were no callers waiting to speak. Kalmick closed the hearing.

Background on fees

“The anticipated revenue impact of the proposed changes included in the fee schedule update is $471,000,” Telford wrote near the end of her report.

“Additional fee revenue is not intended to fund new services,” Telford wrote.

“When a fee targets ‘100% or full cost recovery,’ the individual is bearing the entirety of the cost. When a fee targets less than full cost recovery, another City revenue source – in most cases, the General Fund – subsidizes the individualized activity,” Telford wrote near the middle of the report.

“The [building] Division collects approximately $812,000 annually in fee revenues. Fee related expenditures are approximately $1,086,000. This results in an aggregate cost recovery level of 75% and a General Fund subsidy of approximately $274,000,” Telford wrote.

The city is targeting full cost recovery for most building fees, except for residential HVAC  change-outs and residential electrical panel upgrades/changeouts, according to Telford’s report. The city is aiming for 50% of cost recovery for those fees.

“Targeting less than full cost recovery for these minor permits is intended to encourage compliance, foster collaboration between residents and City staff, and ensure that fees align to the region for similar services provided,” Telford wrote.

Planning fees will also change. “Due to the current significant under-recovery staff is recommending adjustments to most fees,” Telford wrote.

According to her report, the city will be seeking 100% cost recovery for environmental assessments, and specific plans, to cite just two examples.

According to Telford’s report, the city will seek 90% cost recovery for conditional use permits, major site plan reviews, and variances.

Again, these are just some examples.

“In order to generally maintain pace with regional cost inflation, the City should adjust its fees on an annual basis,” Telford wrote.

“A commonly used, reasonable inflation index is the annual change in the all-urban Consumer Price Index (CPI) representative of the region,” Telford wrote.

City Council OKs fee increases for various Seal Beach city services