City Council Treats Residents as "Beasts of Burden" to Carry Financial Load of their Redevelopment Agenda
New Fees for City services were proposed at the July City Council meeting.
Many fees will go up. Many new fees will be imposed.
Of note, fees for building permits are going down AGAIN, after a 50% reduction last year.
Eighty six new fee categories are established. Ninety existing fees will go up including park rental. Nine fees will go down, mostly in Planning.
City Manager Shauna Clark said building permits will only cover 65% of the cost of providing the service.
In a Whittier Daily News article, Building Inspector Scott Fasekas said, "(The city's) goal is to collect 65 percent of the actual costs," Fazekas said. "That's very generous on the city's part. We're saying we're trying to keep our fees down and willing to subsidize (new construction) to make it palatable."
Most new houses in the City are spec houses, constructed by non-resident developers.
The "subsidy" does not come from the City, it is paid either by charging existing residents who are not building higher fees and taxes on other things (such as the 176 new and increased fees) to cover the shortfall, by reducing services, or both.
The City Manager used a new 5,000 square foot home as an example. In 2008 building permit fees would have been $28,930. In 2009, building permit charges were reduced to $14,465. Under the proposed new fees, they are reduced again to $13,370.
Staff Comparison of LHH to Selected Cities
Who pays to make up for the lost revenue?
The residents who are not building, including senior citizens, and those on fixed incomes.
The City Council also chose not to consider Development Impact Fees on new homes. Impact Fees charge new construction for their share of required new infrastructure costs to serve the house. La Habra Heights is one of the very few cities in the State not to charge Impact Fees, leaving the cost of providing infrastructure for new houses on existing residents.
The City receives only about 10¢ of every dollar of property taxes. A $1,000,000 dollar house that pays $10,000 in property taxes, only yields the City $1,000. It is well established that residential properties are a fiscal drain on cities. If property taxes were sufficient, we wouldn't be paying a Roads Assessment or Fire Tax.
Cities with more homes, such as La Habra, with 10 times as many, or Los Angeles with 100's of times as many, still are struggling. Wealthy communities, like Malibu, have City governments that are financially strained.
No matter how many houses are built, the costs to service them rises faster than revenue generated by property taxes.
Redevelopment Phase I Completed
Phase I of the Council redevelopment agenda was a 2 year process to weaken City codes to allow more grading, concrete and building in violation of the General Plan, and over the continuous and almost unanimous objection of residents speaking to the Council.
Mayor Layne Baroldi has stated his intention to go after the Codes again.