A slew of the city of South Lake Tahoe’s user fees and service charges are increasing by about 2.6 percent this spring.
The City Council approved the increases Tuesday. The general adjustment is based on the consumer price index, a measure that tracks cost increases in consumer goods. It follows increases of about 1 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2012.
“All fees were calculated with a 2.6 percent change and then analyzed by each department with changes made accordingly,” said MaryAnne Brand, South Lake Tahoe’s financial services manager.
The master fee schedule includes fees charged by the city’s police, fire, development services, finance, public works and parks and recreation departments, as well as the city attorney and city clerk offices.
Some fees are increasing by more than 2.6 percent. Other fees increase by less or not at all, including fees at the city’s golf course and the hangar rents at Lake Tahoe Airport.
Also mixed into the schedule are a handful of fee reductions, including a $129 reduction in building code appeal fees; the elimination of some fees, including the $69 fee for concealed weapons permit renewals; and the introduction of some new fees.
Council members JoAnn Conner and Tom Davis expressed concern over increases in some recreation fees, but ultimately supported the package of fee adjustments. It was adopted with a 5-0 vote.
Increases larger than 2.6 percent include the charges for some building and park facility rentals, multi-use recreation complex passes, recreation and sports league programs and summer day camp.
“I am a little concerned at some of the people we’re hitting with fee increases,” Conner said.
Davis agreed. “We’re a blue collar community here. We want to make sure we don’t eliminate a lot of the youth in this community who can’t afford it or are right at the edge,” he said.
Proposed fees at Lake Tahoe Airport were put to a separate vote. A number of them are increasing, but not hangar rates. The concern is that higher hangar rates could lead to additional vacancies.
The municipal airport has 52 hangars. Four are sitting empty two are loaned out to the police and fire departments and 10 are rented out for non-aviation uses to keep some revenue coming in.
“Those folks have been put on notice that if those hangars are needed for aircraft they will be given 30 days notice to vacate,” airport manager Sherry Miller told City Council. “With a lot of second-home owners with aircraft, they don’t like to rent hangars year-round, so it’s more difficult for us.”
Airport fees were approved 3-0. Davis and Mayor Hal Cole did not vote because they rent hangars.
The City Council also directed staff to issue a request for proposals for a comprehensive fee study. The study would examine whether city fees are recovering the true cost of programs and services — something that’s unknown at this point because the last such study was done in 2006.