Wed11262014

News

Cost of services on the rise for Los Altos Hills residents

Los Altos Hills councilmembers voted to approve an increase in town user fees at their March meeting, but a post-meeting public inquiry challenged the legality of the council’s public notice before the decision. After town staff helped the council navigate the situation, the council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution a second time.

Following last month’s decision, a local resident accused the council of holding a hearing on the matter without the proper public notice required by government code. Town staff resolved the problem by rescheduling the resolution at this month’s meeting.

Before the council voted on the matter, several residents questioned whether the methodology used to adjust the fees was fair and reasonable. An accounting error on a summary document was partially responsible for the confusion.

Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan took issue with the argument that the council and town staff had not acted responsibly in reviewing the model used to adjust the proposed fee increases.

“I have a good deal of confidence that we have good, honest people doing this work,” she said. “This model being used is from other cities. It’s legal and legitimate.”

When cost adjustments to planning and building services take effect June 16, fees will increase by an average of 18.7 percent, allowing the town to recover 90 percent of the actual cost of providing services to applicants. The new fees will generate an estimated $473,000 in additional revenue if the number of applicants remains the same as in fiscal year 2012-2013.

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