Cost Accounting in Local Government

Fee Increases in Between Cost Studies

When I first started doing Cost Studies, cities were unlikely to know the cost of their services let alone charge what the services cost. The most common approach, when fee increases were considered necessary, was to compare the city’s fees with neighboring cities, which I called the “blind leading the blind” update. Later, as cost […]

Accessory Dwelling Units

Many of you have been wrestling with integrating the recently passed State legislation (AB 2299 and SB 1069) that requires most cities to accommodate second dwelling units, referred to as “accessory dwelling units,” within your development rules and regulations. Regardless of your own city ordinances on the issue, the new state law is probably more […]

Are Credit Card Processing Fees for You?

For many years the credit card industry vigorously fought against any effort to charge a processing fee to use a credit card.  Credit card companies fought the same battles against processing fees charged by government as they did against private businesses.  But as more and more government agencies started accepting credit cards for payment for […]

Available versus Billable Hours – Redux

Nine years ago, I wrote the following article. Since the concepts are just as relevant today, I’m reprinting it with some editorial changes to make it more current. Enjoy… On page 31 of the League of California Cities publication “Cost Accounting for California Cities (1981),” we (I was one of the authors) proposed an early […]

Two Not-So-Scary DIF Collection Requirements

Description and discussion of the reporting requirements of Development Impact Fees.

What is required to set fees?

It is generally understood that you need a resolution at a public hearing to set fees.  But is that correct?  It turns out that is not entirely true. For development-related fees, Government Code Section 66016 and following sections make it clear that you do need a public hearing.  In addition, this code section has the […]

Development Impact Fees for Mature Cities

A little over two years ago I got a call from Chu Thai, the Management Services Director with the City of Monterey Park.  He called to ask me what I thought about development impact fees for the City.  I thought, what? Development Impact Fees (DIFs) for a built-out City?  I frankly didn’t see it.  I’m […]

Charging a Utility Encroachment Permit

Every so often I’ll hear about Edison or the Gas Company telling a City that they cannot be charged an encroachment permit to plan check and inspect a street cut under the franchise agreement.  They will then hope that you blink and reduce or eliminate the fee. But recently, I was told that they cited […]

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