On Jan. 16, Dana Point City Council voted 3-2 to adopt a new user fee subsidy policy that was originally presented and discussed in October 2017.

A study by Wohlford Consulting was the first since Dana Point’s last fee survey in 2005. It revealed significant differentials in user fees and service costs to the city. Based on three fee areas – including planning, building and engineering—Wohlford’s study revealed a current overall annual subsidy of $2,253,000 from the general fund, with an overall cost recovery rate for fee services of 36 percent.

Council members Tomlinson, Lewis and Wyatt voted in favor of the user fee subsidy policy presented by Assistant City Manager Mike Killebrew.

The policy states that fees will be set at full cost recovery unless it is determined that there must be a subsidy. The policy continues, explaining that, “user fees are appropriate where an individual member of the public is the sole or primary beneficiary of a service.”

Mayor Viczorek and Mayor Pro Tem Muller, who voted against the subsidy policy update, both voiced concern over double-taxation.

“These aren’t user fees,” said Mayor Pro Tem Muller. “They are regulatory fees.”

Council member Lewis countered Viczorek and Muller by voicing concern that “tax-payers should not be paying for developers.”

Killebrew explained adoption of this user fee subsidy policy did not indicate immediate application. The adoption of this policy becomes a part of an ongoing direction to create a long-term financial plan (LFTP) to address a projected budget deficit in 2020. Visit www.danapoint.org for more information.

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