Del Mar evaluates user fees


Del Mar City Council is considering updating user fees, which are charged for services that have “limited of no direct benefit to the community as a whole.”

City staff recommendations are to raise many of the fees to allow the city to recoup 100% of the costs it incurs to provide those services. Specific costs for each proposed fee change will be evaluated and approved by the City Council at a future meeting.

Examples of fees include the city’s news rack permit, which is $25 per year. Under city staff’s recommendation, it would be raised to $1,400 annually to offset the city’s cost of service.

“I think we all value journalism and objective journalism in our community,” Del Mar resident Laura DeMarco said during public comment. “It looks like we’re trying to discourage it.”

Other types of planning permits, such as tree removal, bingo permit and accessory dwelling unit permits could be raised, in addition to public works fees such as curb painting and water shut-off.

“These fees merit going through one at a time and figuring out what are we trying to accomplish,” Del Mar City Councilman Dwight Worden said.

-- Report by Luke Harold