High fees may ease Daly City's budget deficit

Fees for many city services may be raised by as much as 75 percent in the summer in an effort to make up for a $1 million deficit the city is facing next fiscal year.

Fees may be raised for inspections, false alarms, auto impounds, building permits and other services, many of which have not seen fee increases for several years.

“We have not done a comprehensive fee update in a very long time,” Finance Director Don McVey said. “If we don’t raise fees, then we’ve got a serious problem.”

The city, with a 2008-09 budget projected to be $73 million, needs to make up the more than $1 million deficit caused by increases in salaries and benefits, according to McVey.

He said the fee increases mostly would affect business owners, not Daly City residents.

“They are not the only city who is doing that,” said Georgette Sarles, president of the Daly City-Colma Chamber of Commerce. “With a raise, nobody is happy because businesses are having a hard go anyway. With everything else going up, it’s like a domino effect.”

Fees may be raised in police, fire, public works, building and code enforcement departments as well as the city’s libraries. McVey said he did not recommend any increases for senior services and recreation.

“When we’re looking at increasing the fees, we’re going to take into account whether or not it’s going to have an adverse effect on the consumer’s pocket book,” Councilmember Sal Torres said. “If it is, we’ll amortize it over a period of several years rather than increase it all at once.”

Hiked fees would bring approximately $1.2 million into the city’s coffers, but next year the city may see more increases, according to McVey. He said he does not expect to see much resistance to the fees from the community.

“It’s a recovery of costs, not a tax, but any time we raise fees, there is always someone who doesn’t like it,” he said. “But I don’t expect a huge amount of concern over this.”

svasilyuk@sfexaminer.com

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