Council gets a snapshot of fee changes
By Reggie Ellis
visalia – You can now get your passport photo done at Visalia City Hall.
A new passport photo fee was among the proposed changes to the City of Visalia’s Rates and Fee schedule for 2017-18. The fee allows customers to have their passport photo taken at City Hall while completing their passport application. Previously customers had to bring their passport photo with them to City Hall before they could complete the application. The $12 fee is comparable to what other local providers including Walgreens, CVS, Costco, AAA and Walmart.
New fees, adjusted rates and changes to the schedule were presented for review at the June 5 Visalia City Council meeting. A public hearing on the changes will be held at the Council’s June 19 meeting.
Other new fees included a civil engineering fee of $99.40 for proposed developments and a street improvement fee of $19.50 per square foot for concrete work, such as sidewalks, if the property owners uses the city contractor. In addition to the fees collected, one of the new fees may generate some additional revenue for the city. A trolley transport fee is being proposed for the Transit Fund which would apply to trolley rentals that fall outside of the normal hours of operation. Councilmember Phil Cox said the fee would make it easier for groups requesting transports by the trolley to cut through the red tape that prevents the service from making money.
“In the past it seems they have had to jump through six hoops and three of them are flaming,” Cox said.
Some fees will be eliminated. The fee for Manuel F Hernandez Game Room has been discontinued due to the new Clubhouse program that was approved by Council with Measure N funding. Convention Center fees – such as coat checking, theatrical lighting, and name badges – will be eliminated because they are outdated, no longer in practice or don’t even exist.
While most of the City’s fees are automatically increased by an average of 1-3% based inflation calculators, the City is proposing to increase some existing fees beyond that formula. Not having your cat or dog spay or neutered may cost you more. License fees for unaltered cats are proposed for a $1 increase to $25 and for dogs a $2 increase up to $79. The increase is to cover the actual cost of providing this service as 90% of animals that are caught are unaltered. Two public safety fees were proposed for increases. A blood draw fee for DUI cases may increase by $1 to $36 and Fix It tickets may go up by $1 to $15.
Other fees were increased by less than the annual rate. The Weed Abatement Administrative Fee and the Declaration of Public Nuisance Fee are proposed to be increased from $68.50 to $70.40 to reflect the hourly rate of an inspector. The fee for the Punch Pass will be reduced from $180.00 to $160.00 due to a typo during service planning/implementation.