Fees for El Dorado Planning and Building services increased

Eric Jaramishian / The Mountain Democrat

The El Dorado County Planning and Building Department has increased service fees to boost its cost recovery. 

Planning and Building staff requested increases based on a cost recovery analysis done by NBS Government Finance Group Inc., which conducted the study to examine revenue shortfalls. NBS determined Planning and Building was recovering approximately 68% of annual costs of providing services and presented its findings to the Board of Supervisors in August. 

With the rise in fees, assistant director of Planning and Building Chris Perry said recovery revenue for services will grow to 98% with the approval of the department’s new fee schedule.

Supervisors unanimously, to some extent reluctantly, approved the fee increases Oct. 24.

“As difficult as it is to approve cost increases, I think we need to do it from a recovery standpoint,” said John Hidahl, District 1 supervisor. “Otherwise we have all the taxpayers subsidizing individual projects.”  

Most notably, planning services hourly rates will increase by $79 for a new, $219 flat fee. 

For the Tahoe area, Planning and Building has added a stormwater state permit recovery fee that will include a $190 hourly rate. Regarding vacation home rentals, an hourly fee is set to $190 and a $31 VHR technology surcharge has been determined necessary.

The department will also convert charges on certain services from a flat fee to a time and materials basis. 

A building service fee will increase marginally from $126 to $144 an hour to help put the Building Division of the department at a 100% cost recovery rate, according to Perry.

The building fee multiplier, in which the cost of building permits is determined, is also receiving an fee update. 

The Code Enforcement Division is implementing a flat hourly fee of $107 dollars, as well as penalty fees and a pre-site inspection fee of $107 hourly. These would bring Code Enforcement Division to an 82% cost recovery, Perry told the board.

A VHR code enforcement appeals fee will spike to $1,000, of which $200 will be for the actual appeal, but $800 will help offset 

“With our continual efforts to step up our enforcement, we suspect there are going to be more appeals, and that obviously is going to increase staff time and we want to be able to capture that,” Perry told the board. 

All other appeals fees will remain at a $200 charge. 

For the Airports Division, a 10-cent per gallon fuel flowage fee is being implemented and will be utilized for emergencies and on any non-airport third-party fueling services, said Perry. An hourly rate of $171 for airport fees has also been applied.

An hourly rate for cemetery services has been set at $189 as well. 

Regarding county-permitted technology projects, a surcharge fee will be added, which will cost 3.2% of the project’s total permit fee, as well as a technology enhancement and improvement fee of 2.45% of a project’s permit cost. 

A 3.20% General Plan implementation fee of a county permit/project fee was also approved. Staff are expecting a 25% cost recovery on the implementation of the fee.

Nine percent of that is going toward long-range planning, and the rest will be directed toward a comprehensive General Plan update that is prospected for the future by staff. 

“Even with 16% of that fund, it’s not going to fund the entire General Fund as it comes,” Perry told the board. “General plans are expensive and 100% cost recovery would be prohibitively expensive and (we) didn’t necessarily think that’s the right thing to do.” 

The fees will be collected in the next five years, which is when they target updatingthe General Plan. 

A full breakdown of the fee schedule is available on the Board of Supervisors’ Oct. 24 meeting minutes, which can be found at

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