Santa Maria residents are invited to voice their comments about city user fees and taxpayer subsidies at a second virtual public workshop at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, March 11th via Zoom.
Residents may register online at https://tinyurl.com/wwekaj7w and be prepared to select their language of choice, English or Spanish. To join by phone, dial 1 (669) 900-9128. Use webinar ID: 838 3344 5243. A Spanish interpreter will be provided for the entire meeting.
The User Fee Cost Study is available on the city’s website at www.cityofsantamaria.org/ProposedUserFees. Instructions on how to navigate the report are on the city’s website under www.cityofsantamaria.org/instructionsforfeestudy.
The final decision about adjusting fees will be made by the City Council at a regular Council meeting, date to be determined.
This workshop will invite comments, explain to residents, businesses, and the City Council what it costs to provide existing city services, and why the consultant is recommending most fees be increased and the taxpayer subsidies be eliminated.
The city’s last user fee study occurred in 2005, with most increases annually since then based on the Consumer Price Index. In the 15 years since that 2005 study, many city costs to provide services have far outpaced inflation. The city faces severe financial challenges to maintain services and is in its 12th consecutive year of costs exceeding revenues. The report explains to what degree fees should be expected to support the cost of the service. The consultant recommends that the Council make its decisions based on business principles as much as possible.
Questions may be directed to the Finance Department at (805) 925-0951 extension 2215.
— Gerry Fall