The Twentynine Palms City Council met in regular session Tuesday night. Reporter Dan Stork said a close look at some of the city’s fees and charges dominated the meeting…
The Twentynine Palms City Council concentrated on details of the city’s schedule of fees. Council members worked at balancing two opposing themes: Government should not hamper enterprise with high fees; and granting of permits and provision of city services have a cost to the public that ought to be born by those who benefit.
Here are some specific cases in which these principles were played out:
- Should non-profit and profit-making organizations be charged the same rate for rental of recreational facilities? (Council voted 3-2 to eliminate some fees for non-profits. Joel Klink and John Cole dissented.)
- Is $115 too little to charge for transporting animals in distress to a public facility in Indio, in the absence of the owners? (Consensus: it is too little, given costs of fuel and time, but it hardly ever comes up. The fee was raised to $150.)
- If a property owner is required to dedicate land to the city, should he have to pay a fee for engineering evaluations? (Council dropped this discussion, since the Planning Commission is considering it.)
- If someone successfully appeals a staff or planning commission decision, should he get a refund of the appeal-application fee? (Upon receiving an opinion that it could decide this on a per-case basis, Council voted 3-2 to refund an appeal fee charged to Underground Tattoo, Klink and Cole dissenting.)
- Why did the cost of a negative environmental declaration go from $300 to $700? (Council voted unanimously to roll this fee back to $500.) A variance costs almost $3500 – why so much? (This was referred to staff for background and analysis.)
Acting upon a suggestion by Planning Commissioner Carey Alderson, a task force was formed to further review fees, Dan Mintz and Jay Corbin volunteering for the duty. Earlier, at the request of staff, two consent agenda items related to obligations of the Successor to the Redevelopment Agenda were separated so that they could be explained. One item related to administrative costs, was narrowly passed 3-2. The other, for which non-approval might result in heavy fines to the city, passed unanimously.
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