New Fee Schedule Provides Convenience to City Staff & Residents
The City of Marshfield Municipal Code is a lengthy document that includes all governing ordinances for the city. Though a necessary and important document, it can be challenging for residents to find specific information, especially relating to fees. Finding the cost of a building permit, alcohol license, or wastewater connection fee can be challenging, as they are contained within this lengthy document.
Providing an additional inconvenience, each time the City wishes to update the cost of something within the Municipal Code, there is a cumbersome process that must be undertaken. This process includes two readings of the ordinance, publication in the newspaper, reprinting code pages, and other time and resource burdening processes that could be done more efficiently through a fee schedule.
In an effort to provide a single, efficient, and convenient Fee Schedule, the City of Marshfield Common Council voted on Tuesday to approve Resolution No. 2017-64 (adopting revised City fee schedule).
“Resolution No. 2017-64 is the next logical step in this effort, now adding certain fees charged by the wastewater division, fire department, and city clerk’s office,” said Steve Barg, City Administrator. “The inspiration for the original fee schedule resolution approved in late 2015 was the Development Services Department’s desire to remove certain fees (building, electrical, plumbing, zoning) from the City Code, and to place them on a separate fee schedule that can be modified annually by approval of a resolution.”
The fee schedule contains all fees in a single, convenient location, benefiting staff, contractors, and citizens. Initially only Development Services fees were placed on this resolution, with the City now seeking to incorporate other department fees. The recommended changes for 2018 are due to either an increasing cost to process these applications, or as a result of surveys of fees charged in other comparable communities.
“Besides the fact that having a separate fee schedule approved annually by a simple resolution is an easier process than amending an ordinance, the primary benefit is that the fee schedule can be used by city staff and citizens as a sort of ‘one-stop shopping’ location for fees, rather than having to search for the appropriate code section where the change has been made,” said Barg. “In the case of residents, it’s unlikely that they would even know where to look in our large code to find that answer.”
Residents can now find the following information easily, without considerable digging or calling city hall: minimum building permit fee, fence permit fee, zoning variance application fee, fee for putting up certain types of signs, and fee for alcohol-related licenses.
According to Barg, City staff believes that creating a schedule of fees charged for various services across department lines should help residents, business owners, and others find the information they need, all in one location, without having to spend time searching through the city code.
“This new approach benefits a large number of people who need this information, including city staff, elected officials, residents, and building contractors,” he said.