At their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, May 24 at 6pm, the Novato City Council will conduct a public hearing to consider adopting a resolution to update and establish user and regulatory fees for fee-related City services. The City of Novato charges fees for a variety of specific services provided including, but not limited to:
- Building fees, e.g. – permitting of new construction or modifications to existing structures
- Planning fees, e.g. – entitlement review and review for compliance with the zoning code
- Land Development Engineering fees, e.g. – review and inspection of requests for subdivision and grading
- Encroachment Permitting fees, e.g. – for work or activities conducted in the city right-of-way
- Police Department fees, e.g. – accident report and false alarm response fees
The City of Novato has been working with ClearSource Financial Consulting to complete a citywide user and regulatory fee study. The fee study provides an up-to-date analysis of the City’s current costs of providing fee-related services while also ensuring that the City maintains compliance with state and local policies, and continues to meet the needs of the community.
As part of a general cost recovery strategy, local governments adopt user fees to fund services provided or required due to the request or action of an individual or entity. User and regulatory fees are set according to the estimated reasonable cost of service. A fee for service ensures that an individual or entity bears most, if not all, of the cost incurred by the City to provide that service. When a fee does not fully cover the cost for service another City revenue source subsidizes the cost – in most cases, the General Fund.
The benefits of reviewing and updating user fees include:
- Reducing the need for General Fund subsidy which would increase the revenues that can be used for services and activities available to all Novato community members.
- Providing a pattern of consistency with information for forecasting and decision-making purposes.
- Helping meet service level expectations by collecting fees to fund the existing level of services provided.
- Keeping pace with general cost inflation.
- Avoiding fee spikes that are more likely to occur when municipalities leave fees unchanged for a multi-year period and encouraging equity among fee payers.
The Proposed Fee Schedule is available to review online at novato.org/finance.
The meeting of May 24, 2022 will be held in person at Novato City Hall, 901 Sherman Avenue and virtually via Zoom. Additional information about the upcoming public hearing, including the virtual participation link and instructions, will be posted at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting with the agenda at novato.org/agendas.