By Daniel Ritz

THE LATEST: The Dana Point Financial Review Committee met to discuss the results of the 2016 Cost of Services Study in City Council chambers on Sept. 27.

The study, led by Chad Wohlford, MPPA, of Wohlford Consulting, is the first since Dana Point’s last fee survey in 2005. It revealed signifigant differentials in user fees and service costs to the city.

Wohlford explained that user fees are defined as, “a fee or rate charged to an individual or group that receives private benefit from services provided by the city.” He explained that these are not taxes, as a user fee is usually a discretionary activity requested by the fee payer, i.e., permits. He concluded his introduction by explaining that if a “user fee does not cover the city’s full cost for the service, (general fund) taxes pay for the remainder.”

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.

Wohlford’s study went on to clarify that, “All three departments/divisions currently have significant fee subsidies”, and suggested that the “primary cost-recovery opportunity is increased fees toward full cost, not new fees.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The Financial Review Committee will further review the Wohlford study, before presenting their review to City Council in an upcoming meeting. A copy of the study is available here

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