Look for several city service charges to increase in 2012 — your water and sewer bill, rental fees on most city facilities and even the penalty for bouncing a check to the municipality.
There is always focus on the city’s General Fund during city budget discussions. That’s because it pays the day-to-day expenses of running the city, and greatly affects your property taxes.
But fees deserve our attention as well. Sometimes they are used to pay for services that shouldn’t be provided by the city in the first place. Sometimes they are used to take pressure off the General Fund.
Fees are (in many cases) only paid by those who benefit from the service. But fee naysayers say they are just another form of a tax, but less transparent. Remember the great Pawlenty fee vs. tax debate over the 2005 “health impact fee?”
The bottom line is this: Fees generate income for the city, and they do take some cha-ching out of taxpayers’ wallets as well.
For a complete list of city fees, you’ll will need to spend some time reviewing the city budget.
Here’s some of the fee changes for 2012 in Burnsville:
•Major roadway and intersection lighting fee (previously paid from the General Fund). All residential property to be charged 33 cents a month; high-density residential, 20 cents a unit per month and commercial $3.14 a month.
•New charge for reinspections of rental units.
•Residential and commercial properties that benefit from street lights: (About 7,000 customers)
•Residential and commercial requested city snow removal service charge
•Contractor’s annual licenses
•Most residential and commercial building and sign permits
•Antenna site rental charges and fees
•Most city facility fees for adult league play
•Canoe rack rental
•Community garden plot