Fee increases on tap at city hall today

A number of fee increases will be considered at the committee of the whole council meeting Wednesday.

The increases contained within the report were endorsed by the standing committee on finance and audit. The fee increases, the report explains, fall in line with council priorities which state the city be financially sustainable, with the revenue resources required to support its plans and infrastructure and provide services that citizens and businesses need.

The report suggests NSF charges go from $20 to $25 and manual  tax searches increase from $25 to $35 per folio.

Manual searches, which take a lot more time to complete by city staff, cost less per folio than electronic searches, as they are done through BC Online, which charges an additional $5.60 per search per folio.

The resulting price difference, the report explains, makes it hard to direct customers to utilize the electronic searches.

About 130 payments were made to incorrect utility accounts as of June 2012, something the city did not charge for in the past. The report recommends the city charge $25 to fund transfers between properties.

Currently the city doesn't charge for emergency after-hours call-outs. The report recommends the city charge a $60 fee for call-outs during regular hours and $90 for after-hour call-outs.

Homeowners who add tenants to their account for utility invoicing will pay $10 for each tenant account set-up if the suggestions in the report are adopted.Proposed rate increases are suggested for the Pine Valley Golf Course, renting the Civic Centre and Civic Plaza (eight per cent in 2013, five per cent in 2014 and three per cent in 2015), ancillary audio visual equipment at the venue, communication services and additional services and furniture.Fees for contractors conducting business in the venue will increase as well. Advertising costs on the city's website will also increase.

Swim admissions, lessons and leadership lessons at the Aquatic Centre will increase by three percent annually through to 2015. A 3.75 per cent increase is recommended at the CN Centre and community arena annually through April 30, 2015 for fall and winter rates with the same increase annually for spring and summer rental rates through Sept. 29, 2015.There will be an increase in cemetery fees as well as building permit fees.

The finance and audit committee requests the committee of the whole recommend approval of the rate increases to council, which will review the report and recommendation at its next meeting.

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