View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


State casts a shadow over city

City: Santa Clarita City Council approves increased fees in mid-year budget changes

Posted: December 14, 2010 10:14 p.m.
Updated: December 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

If you break the little laws in Santa Clarita — get a parking ticket, build without a permit, make too much noise — it’s going to cost you more money than before.

It’ll also cost more to open some businesses.

The Santa Clarita City Council approved an adjusted mid-year budget Tuesday night that reflects costs running higher than city accountants had anticipated and revenues falling short of what they had expected.

But if you’re looking to blame the city for the cash grabs, you’re blaming the wrong agency, Deputy City Manager Darren Hernandez said.

The state of California is to blame for these particular rate increases, which were put in place with recently passed legislation, he said.

City budget staff call the increases “pass-through” fees because the money does not stay in Santa Clarita. It passes through the city, heading straight to Sacramento.

“We have to pay these increases regardless,” Hernandez explained before the City Council meeting at City Hall. “The state is going to tack it onto its bill to us, so we need to tack it on to the (city) budget.”

The city incurred higher costs between June and year-end than it had budgeted. More than $14.5 million in adjusted expenditures were added to the existing budget.

Projects with big price tags include: paying $4.3 million to acquire the parking rights at the Metrolink Station on Soledad Canyon Road and paying more than $7.67 million for the Golden Valley Road right-of-way.

And while costs climbed, revenue dropped, the City Council learned Tuesday.

Developer fees, for instance, fell short by more than $13,000 these past six months.

Legislation passed this fall allows the state to pass on higher costs to municipalities.

Besides the $3 hike in parking tickets, residents will pay more for violating zoning codes, failing to maintain one’s property and not picking up after one’s dog.

The price of Enterprise Zone voucher fees also rose with the revised city budget.

The city was compelled to raise this rate, too, after California politicians passed legislation in October permitting the state to demand more from municipalities.

The Enterprise Zone voucher program, which carries with it lucrative tax breaks for companies hiring disadvantaged or local workers, comes with a processing fee administered by city staff.

The city is now charging $5 more to process the vouchers, bringing the new total administrative cost to $60.

The City Council approved the mid-year budget changes via its consent calendar in a 4-0 vote Tuesday night. Councilman Frank Ferry was absent, as he has been hospitalized since Dec. 3.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...