Charges for such services as fire safety inspections and building permits will likely go up slightly for Roseburg residents as the city slowly emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and looks to replenish its general fund.
These fees are typically raised a couple of percentage points every year in accordance with indexes tied to the cost of living and of new construction. But last year, the Roseburg City Council chose to freeze costs across the board due to the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The City Council informally approved the increases Monday; the matter is scheduled to come up for a formal vote in two weeks. If approved, the increases would go into effect July 1.
Costs will go up 1.7% for charges for services from the community development department related to planning and building; seven fees for services from the fire department, including false alarm response and appeals, inspections, permits and plan reviews; and fees associated with the use of airport facilities.
Costs will go up 3.1% for system development charges on developments. The revenue from these charges, which are assessed when a property is developed, helps pay for such items as street improvements, the water system and storm drainage. By state law, the funds collected from these charges can only go for the expansion of infrastructure, or the idea that “growth should pay for growth.”
The city will also charge another $5 for supplemental copies of police reports. The city currently charges $10 for the first copy.
City staff said that projected revenues for the current fiscal year are down 3.1% from the current budget due to the coronavirus pandemic. Next year’s projected revenues show a zero percent increase from the current budget while expenditures continue to increase, potentially reducing the city’s reserves, those staffers said. Delaying the fee increases another year would contribute to a weakening financial position in the general fund, city staff said in making the case for the fee increases.
“I’m generally opposed to raising rates, but I understand we have to do that because the cost of everything is going up,” City Councilor Bob Cotterell said.
The Council did not raise rates for water and sewer services.