Seal Beach Council OKs city fee schedule update

One example: dog license fees to increase $5. But parking permit fees won’t change

Following a public hearing, the City Council this week voted unanimously to update Seal Beach’s service fee schedule.

The Monday, Sept. 12, meeting was the first public city government meeting in recent months. The city officially returned to in-person meetings in March but reverted to closed meetings after a reported spike in COVID-19 among Seal Beach employees.

Some fees are going up.

No members of the public spoke on the subject of fees during this week’s council meeting.

District Three Councilwoman Schelly Sustarsic said that in a city of 25,000 people, seemed like Seal Beach was missing some of the dog licenses. “So I would hope that with extra employees that we’ve hired that maybe we can do some canvassing and, and work on increasing the revenues that come in just through licensing,” she said.

“I saw it in the presentation for animal control that we were going to try for full recovery,” said District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt, referring to a presentation earlier this year. Seal Beach is changing to an in-house animal control program.

“Do I—am I remembering that wrong?” Masa-Lavitt asked.

Seal Beach Police Capt. Michael Henderson said the city would not try to recover costs through fees.

“As it relates to licensing we will have so right now licenses $31 And with the new licensing scheme, we will have with the increase that will cover the cost of the fees for the new licensing. So that is correct when it comes to recovery on that aspect, but it’s always it relates to licensing, not the entire program. So I apologize for the miscommunication,” Henderson said.

District Three Councilman Mike Varipapa said he didn’t know the city had a fee for basketball.

Recreation Manager Tim Kelsey said it applies if you have a basketball team and you want to use Marina Park, Bluebell Park, or Edison Park, and if the team has a scheduled time for practice. According to Kelsey, this would be during the NJB season.

On Monday, Sept. 12, prior to the meeting, the Sun emailed questions about the fee schedule to Finance Director /City Treasurer Barbara Arenado. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos replied.

Sun: “You [Arenado] wrote in the staff report that the anticipated revenue impact of the changes would be $72,000. Does that mean that fee-related revenues would increase by that figure?

“Fees and charges presented will increase an estimated $72,000 citywide,” Gallegos wrote.

Sun: “Are parking fines increasing?”

“Parking fines will increase by 3.83%.” Gallegos wrote.

Sun: “Are parking permit fees increasing?”

“Parking fees remain unchanged,” Gallegos wrote.

Sun: “Will the cost of a CUP hearing increase for applicants?”

“These fees remain unchanged,” Gallegos wrote.

The fee schedule was not related to Measure BB, the local 1-cent sales tax that went into effect April 1, 2019, according to the staff report.


“Staff recommends that changes approved pursuant to this item become effective December 1, 2022,” according to the Sept. 12 staff report by Finance Director /City Treasurer Barbara Arenado. This was Arenado’s first public appearance since being hired as the new Finance Department head.

“Most fees and charges are proposed to increase by approximately 3.83%,” Arenado wrote.

That, according to Arenado, is based on the Consumer Price Index for Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim for 2021-22. According to Arenado, the CPI doesn’t include current “inflationary pressures” on the region. She wrote that an updated CPI will be published at the end of the year.

“Public Safety fines and fees for services such as fingerprinting, vehicle impound, false alarm response, are primarily proposed for update to reflect prior year regional cost inflation of 3.83%, as noted above,” Arenado wrote.

“Dog license fees are proposed to increase by $5 to allow the City to recover costs of increased vendor provided licensing services,” Arenado wrote.

Tennis Center fees will distinguish between residents and out-of-towners.

“Reserved Facility Use, Special Event Permitting, and Commercial Filming and Photography permitting are primarily proposed for update to reflect prior year regional cost inflation of 3.83%, as noted above,” Arenado wrote.

“Aquatics Class Fees are proposed to increase by $20 – $25,” Arenado wrote.

“The citywide fiscal impact of the recommended action is not expected to be significant overall,” Arenado wrote.

“The recommendations generally include minor increases and decreases to the existing fee levels,” Arenado wrote.