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Study backs hike in development fees

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Fees in different Town of Truckee departments may go up as the town looks at re-balancing its books.

A consultant hired by the town to study fees charged by different departments looked at the planning division, building department, engineering division, animal control, parking and the police department.

The study sought how the town can recover more of its operational costs. While no date has been picked when the fee update will go before the town council, town staff has looked at the study and made recommendations of their own.

John McLaughlin, community development director, said the Maximus report recommended raising fees in the Animal Control Division to recoup more of the division’s costs.

“The study looked at if we want to try to recover some of those costs through fees, but we recommended that the town not make changes,” McLaughlin said.

According to a town staff report, this could decrease the effectiveness of the animal control program, suggesting that if a fee for an owner to pick up their dog from the kennel were increased, some owners would choose not to pick up their dogs.

Because animal control provides public good, staff believes taxes should contribute to the division’s budget, McLaughlin said.

Parking fines may also be adjusted if town council members follow the Maximus recommendations.

Kelly Beede, parking services manager, said parking fines would be consolidated into four levels: $30, $60, $150 and $300, depending on the violation.

Thirty-dollar violations include parking meter violations, taking up two spaces, parking at red curbs or no parking zones, while more severe violations like parking illegally in a handicapped spot would cost $300, she said.

Most existing fines would only be increased by $5 in this change, but some violations may see a more substantial jump, Beede said.

“Parking fees haven’t been increased since 1993,” Beede said. “It seemed like an appropriate time to be included in the review.”

The town is also required to pay Nevada County $5 for each fine, Beede said.

The town’s planning and building divisions charge both fees and hourly rates for planning, building review, and inspections on new development.

The planning division has been recovering only 25 percent of its costs, and the building department has been dipping into reserves over recent months, McLaughlin said. Consequently, some tax dollars have subsidized new developments going through the town’s planning process.

According to the Maximus report, planning applications fees would go up by $46 to $5,369, with hourly rates rising from $80 to $120.

Building fees would increase by $394 to $1,319, depending on the size and type of project, according to staff reports.

Building department fees would also no longer be based on the value of the project, McLaughlin said. Instead, the fees would depend on the time and work the building department staff put into a project review.

Projects like affordable housing and the town’s general plan update would continue to be paid for by tax dollars, McLaughlin said, because they also offer a public benefit.


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