Public Works Engineering and Community Development Director Jeff Blaine gave the Albany City Council two options on Wednesday in regards to raising planning fees: increase the fee by 1.93% or by 7.58%. The council chose the latter.
The 1.93% increase represented the increase in the consumer price index while the 7.58% increase was what Blaine said the department’s cost in issuing land use applications were expected to grow by in the next year.
Blaine also told the council that he was not involved in the last evaluation of planning fees and would like to conduct a new evaluation to see if the fees were covering the city’s costs.
“Maybe I’m just being old and confused,” Councilor Rich Kellum said. “You’re talking about the 7% (increase), which is what our actual cost will be and then you say you don’t know what those costs would be.”
Blaine explained that the costs of issuing the permits were estimated to increase 7.58% regardless.
“Whether we’re covering our costs today or not, our costs are going up 7.58%,” he said.
Kellum said he would support the increase as long as the department’s intention was to cover costs and not make a profit.
Under the increased fee, the highest cost, a map amendment under a comprehensive plan amendment would rise from $4,941 to $5,036.
According to staff, if the number of applications remains constant, the 7.58% increase will generate approximately $16,000 for the general fund annually.
The increase, according to Planning Manager David Martineau, is the council's practice to provide for an annual inflationary adjustment to the planning division's fees based on the yearly increase in the consumer price index.