Local governments adopt user fees to fund programs and services that provide limited or no direct benefit to the community as a whole. As cities struggle to maintain levels of service and variability of demand, they have become increasingly aware of subsidies provided by the General Fund and have implemented cost‐recovery targets. To the extent that governments use general tax monies to provide individuals with private benefits, and not require them to pay the full cost of the service (and, therefore, receive a subsidy), the government is limiting funds that may be available to provide other community‐wide benefits. In effect, the government is using community funds to pay for private benefit. Unlike most revenue sources, cities have more control over the level of user fees they charge to recover costs, or the subsidies they can institute.
Fees in California are required to conform to the statutory requirements of the California Constitution, Proposition 218, and the California Code of Regulations. The Code also requires that the City Council adopt fees by either ordinance or resolution, and that any fees in excess of the estimated total cost of rendering the related services must be approved by a popular vote of two‐thirds of those electors voting because the charge would be considered a tax and not a fee.
Proposed comprehensive schedule of fees:
User Fee Study for Fiscal year 2021-2022
Comprehensive Schedule of fees FISCAL YEAR 2008-2009