Chandler to consider 175 new fees, increases - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Chandler to consider 175 new fees, increases

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Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6:58 pm | Updated: 11:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Chandler's department heads have come up with 175 possible new fees and fee increases as a way to ease a looming budget shortfall.

The new fees would be generally for services that are free in Chandler, but are not in other Valley cities, and any increases to current fees would be after determining that they are at a level to cover costs.

"Any fee we have is going to be looked at," said Jane Poston, city spokeswoman.

For example, the police department gets revenue from charging for copies of accident and police reports, the planning department gets money from zoning and subdivision applications, the city court gets money from probation monitoring and home detention fees, and parks and recreation has an assortment of fees associated with its programs.

Dennis Strachota, who is in charge of the city's finances, said a few of the new fees might include a restroom charge added to the usual rental fee for a softball field, fire inspection fees and storage fees for impounded vehicles.

"These were just ideas submitted by departments," Strachota said.

A City Council subcommittee will take a first look at them next month.

Strachota said in a briefing to the City Council on Monday that Chandler's financial picture isn't as gloomy as other Valley cities', but he offered a metaphor to show the urgency of the situation.

"The city's budget engine light is on," Strachota said.

Strachota said General Fund revenue was down about $2 million for the first quarter and projections are for a revenue shortfall of $8 million this fiscal year.

Chandler's sales tax collection through September is down 1.8 percent from the same period last year while other Valley cities have seen decreases ranging from 6.4 percent to 13.5 percent.

Councilwoman Trinity Donovan said the city's fiscal conservatism is paying off in hard economic times.

"In times like these it is really important to live within our means," Donovan said.

Councilman Kevin Hartke said it has also helped that the city didn'tover project sales tax revenue in the current budget.

Strachota said the city has identified nine steps that can be taken to shave $6.4 million in spending and close the gap this year.

The proposed new fees and fee increases will be part of the long haul, Strachota said.

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