by VERONICA GORDON
As far as fees go, the city of Buda has some of the lowest in the area. That will change soon, as city staff made recommendations to Buda City Council members to increase several fees, bringing them in line with surrounding cities.
City staff conducted the survey of fees comparing Buda’s fee schedule with Austin, Bastrop, Dripping Springs, Kyle, Pflugerville and San Marcos.
Development and survey fees were among the comparison. The survey showed that Buda is charging less for residents to obtain those permits than the other cities.
Additional revenue from the increase of building permit fees alone would bring the city about $4,400 extra per year.
Other fees being recommended for an increase include demolition permits, platting, pool permits, plumbing permits, special use permits and street closures.
Since Buda has many festivals and events that require streets to be closed, the recommendation was made to raise the street closure fee from $25 to $100.
“It sounds like a huge increase, but I know the reality of street closures,” said Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Tenorio about the cost of providing city staff and police when streets are closed.
“I mean, we need to all be speaking with one voice about some of the reasons for these increases, because with the street closures it’s going to be our nonprofits that hold events who are going to have to deal with that,” she added. “And they’re not going to be happy. But we as a city need to cover our costs when we do these extra things.”
Mayor Sarah Mangham agreed with Tenorio and said the fee increase is necessary, but that the groups should be informed about the increase up-front.
“You’re talking about staff putting out and removing barricades. There has to be police officers (for traffic control); that way they know what the fee is paying for when they have to pay the fee,” Mangham said.
The staff also recommended the Buda Public Library create a late notice letter fee of 50 cents.
The library also hasn’t raised its interlibrary loan fee in years. This ends up costing the city postage and personnel time. The current fee is $1.
“To me that doesn’t seem like it’s enough,” said Council Member Todd Ruge, who suggested it be raised. “This is a two-step process (for the staff).”
Right now the true cost to the library is $2.75. Other libraries in the area charge $2. Ruge recommended the Buda fee be raised to $2.
The proposed changes to the city fees will be included in the 2012-2013 budget. The council is set to approve the budget before Oct. 1.
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