DUNEDIN – On Nov. 15, the Dunedin City Commission unanimously approved 4-0 the second reading of an ordinance that amends the land development code to delete the annual 3 percent increase that is required by ordinance. Commissioner Dave Carson was absent.
“We are trying to eliminate the last three years of the 3 percent increase, but we want to come back for next year’s budget with a new study of fees from the surrounding area as well as some possible indexes to tie to some future annual fees too,” said Greg Rice, planning and development director for the city.
The 3 percent annual increases began on Oct. 1, 2010, and were to end on Oct. 1, 2015, according to a memo to the commission from City Manager Rob DiSpirito.
“The purpose of the 3 percent automatic increase was to keep up with the increasing expenses and the rate of inflation,” the memo said.
However, city staff now believes the increases should be frozen for the following reasons:
“1) Expenses have not risen and have actually decreased in some cases since Oct. 1, 2010,” the memo said. “2) The rate of inflation has remained low as the economy continues to struggle. 3) Building permit fees, by statute, are supposed to be used only for the first expenses related to running a building division. For the first time, the building division is close to breaking even in (fiscal year 2010) and projected to break even in (fiscal year 2013.) 4) The city’s building permit fees are increasing too quickly with automatic increases, threatening to make Dunedin fees some of the highest in the county.”
Commissioner Ron Barnette said he feels this is timely and appropriate at this time.