Yesterday, the Union-Tribune published a story about the City of San Diego recently increasing it’s solar permit fees by a multiple of six.
You may recall the across-the-board fee increases implemented by the City of San Diego in 2009. From the April 2, 2009 Union-Tribune story about that fee increase:
Mary Lewis, the city’s chief financial officer, said the mayor’s goal is to price the fees and permits so that they cover the city’s costs to administer programs and provide oversight, such as police or code enforcement inspections.
At first glance, this seems fair enough. The rationale is that if these costs aren’t covered, the city’s General Fund ends up subsidizing these programs that are intended to be paid for by user fees.
But what is driving the increase in administrative costs at the city? The director of the city’s Development Services Department sheds some light in yesterday’s story:
“Fees were increased by an average of 17 percent, but some had to go up much more to make up for what it cost to provide the needed services.”
“We were fairly out of whack with what it cost to provide those services…Our salaries have going up, and the cost of pensions have been going up” (emphasis added).
And the Mayor’s take?
“The fees, it’s a part of life.”
Everyone, please hurry up and go solar: the city needs your help to support out-of-control city employee pensions! After all, bloated public employee compensation is a part of life here in San Diego that we simply have to deal with. At least the Mayor seems to think so.