City plans increases — some of them major — to user fees and charges

Some of the highest fee increases are those for development services. Please click on the image to see a larger version of it. Revelstoke Current scan

By David F. Rooney

Proposed changes to the City’s schedule of fees and charges mean yu may end up paying more for the privilege of playing Bingo or renting a ball field. You’ll also pay 2% interest — up from 1.5% on overdue accounts — and a whopping $35 on any NSF cheques — up from $15, under this plan intended to help the City recover the cost of some services.

A couple of years ago the City hired a cost and management consultant, James Pammenter, to complete a Cost-Recovery Report for the City’s Planning/Building Department and Fire Rescue Services to compare fees against neighbouring communities similar to Revelstoke. Last spring, Council decided to refer the cost recovery report to the Economic Development Commission for review and comment. The response was to have further public input once the language was clarified from the report to the new bylaw.

There are also a number of new fees attached to certain Fire Rescue Service and Engineering and Public Works charges. For instance, it will now cost you $30 to register a fire alarm, $110 to have a fire alarm installation or modification inspected, or $480 for a Fire Safety Plan review.

A Heritage Alteration Permit will set you back $300 and there are some real eye-poppers contained in a section detailing proposed increases to municipal development service charges.

It is important to stress here that most user fees and charges will not change. Most fees and charges are not changing but there there are increases, many of them quite stiff.

Council gave the changes proposed in Bylaw No. 2008 first and second reading. It will now actively seek public comment on the changes until February 8. They will be presented to Council during its regular meeting on February 14 with third and final reading of the bylaw expected sometime after that. However, it is worth noting that the increased revenue anticipated from these changes is included in the Five-Year Financial Plan 2012 to 2016 — in other words, the next budget.

Planning Director John Guenther said many existing fees had not been adjusted in many years and consequently when increases are proposed some people believe the changes are inordinate and unfair when, in fact, they are not.

The real question is whether service is being improved, he said.

Additional fee schedules will be forthcoming in 2012 for water, sewer, animal control, business licensing and the cemetery.

Click here to read the full set of proposed changes