CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM
Meeting Date: April 24, 2007
Subject/Title: Adopt a Resolution amending the 2006/07 Master Fee Schedule
and Cost Allocation Plan adopted by Resolution No. 2006-198 by revising the
planning fees. The proposed amendment will allow the City to recover staff
costs associated with the processing of development applications for
Prepared by: Heidi Kline, Planning Manager
Submitted by: Howard Sword, Community Development Director
Adopt a Resolution making certain findings and amending the 2006/2007 Cost
Allocation Plan by revising the planning fees.
State law requires that fees not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of
providing the service. The purpose of a Cost Allocation Plan is to conform
to state law and to have a method to recover direct and indirect costs
associated with providing services and establish a framework for computing
fees and charges. The Cost Allocation Plan computes two overhead factors,
departmental and City-Wide, both of which are applied against direct costs
to determine the total cost of providing a given unit of service.
Departmental and City-Wide overhead factors are based on the distribution of
expenditure categories including personnel, operating and ongoing capital
In September of 2004, the City contracted with Maximus to update current
City fees and charges. Maximus worked with City staff from each department
to develop a system for updating the fee-for-service charges. City staff
provided information relating to the actual time it takes to produce or
complete each user fee or permit service. The hourly rate calculations were
applied to the actual time estimates to come up with a total cost of
providing each user fee activity.
Management Partners was consulted to review the recommendations by Maximus.
Management Partners began the Revised Planning User Fee Study with a close
review of the October 2005 study by Maximus. Informational meetings were
then held with Planning Division staff by telephone and in person.
Management Partners concluded that the majority of work completed by Maximus
was satisfactory and should not be redone. However, critical items were
identified within the study that necessitated further review and revision.
As a result, City staff and Management Partners agreed that the Revised
Planning User Fee Study would concentrate solely on rezoning, design review
(residential and non-residential), and tentative map fees.
Based upon staff experience, it was identified that the time and permit
demand estimates created for these three permit types were incorrect in
light of current market conditions and the maturation of development in the
City. Earlier estimates for these three areas, consisting of rezoning,
design review and tentative maps, did not reflect current practices as they
had evolved over the last two years. Therefore, City staff and Management
Partners conducted further analysis to identify the total hours needed to
complete each step in the review process.
Management Partners used the following method to evaluate the rezoning,
design review, and tentative map fees:
1) Analysis of fee amount (as estimated by Maximus)
2) Processing time adjustment (as necessary)
3) Recalculation of base fee (Maximus, plus the cost of additional
4) Inflation adjustment (recalculated base fee, plus inflation)
In addition to evaluating each fee based on the aforementioned methodology,
Management Partners analyzed the tiered structure of each fee. In two areas,
we recommend the inclusion of an additional tier to recoup actual processing
The Finance Department provided inflation figures. The Department also
determined that the current cost data does not reflect a 5.2 percent
increase in labor costs which occurred between the time that the original
data by Maximus and the time of this report. The Finance Department further
determined that despite routine adjustments, the current fees recover
approximately 75% of actual costs.
The recommended fees in the Maximus study were believed to recover 100% of
the costs in most cases. However, Management Partners, working with Finance
staff, found that the lack of full cost recovery stems from assumptions that
no longer accurately reflect the process and user demands. For example,
while the total staff hours (and cost) were accounted for, variations
between project types and time spent on projects were not reliably
reflective of actual practice.
Management Partners determined that another problem relates to the original
report’s calculation of total available staff hours for application
processing. In all cases, fees were determined by estimating the amount of
hours staff spent on processing applications and allocating the appropriate
staff costs to the various planning fees. To determine the total hours that
each staff member spends on applications, each employee’s annual 2,080 hours
was reduced by vacation, sick leave, and general overhead (training,
seminars, staff meetings, etc). The remaining hours provided the basis for
allocating staff time and calculating planning fees.
Management Partners believes that the above calculation, while theoretically
correct, is not reliably accurate. This has resulted in fees which do not
recoup the actual processing costs. In reality, Planning Division staff
works overtime and reduces the amount of time spent on general items, such
as training and professional development to process applications. For these
reasons, we conclude that additional hours should be factored into rezoning,
design review and tentative map fees. In some cases, the amount of
additional hours is 10 more than the Maximus estimate, but in other cases it
is as high as 123 additional hours.
In the future, Management Partners recommends that Planning Division staff
track the hours spent on processing applications by type. This information
will provide data for the periodic rate adjustments and the next
comprehensive fee study.
The resultant approximately $80,000 increase in planning fees would have a
positive fiscal impact on the City’s General Fund and help the City to cover
its costs to provide planning services.
2. Exhibit A, Proposed Amendment to the 2006/2007 Cost Allocation Plan for
3. Revised Planning User Fee Study – Report by Management Partners, dated
November 29, 2006
4. Excerpt of User Fee Study FY 2005/06 for the Planning Department,
prepared by Maximus, dated October 13, 2005
5. Planning Counter Handout with Proposed Universal Application and Fees for
6. Existing Planning Fees as shown on Pages 196 through 201 of the 2006/07
Cost Allocation Plan and Schedule of Fees
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD ADOPTING AN
AMENDMENT TO THE 2006/2007 COST ALLOCATION PLAN, ADOPTING THE MAXIMUS USER
FEE STUDY IN PART AND THE MANAGEMENT PARTNERS USER FEE STUDIES FOR COMPUTING
FEES FOR THE CITY’S PLANNING DIVISION SERVICES AND REVISING THE CITY’S FEES
FOR CERTAIN PLANNING SERVICES
WHEREAS, Government Code Sections 65104, 65909.5, 66014 and 66451.2 allow
the City to establish fees to offset the City’s administrative costs in
processing permits, licenses, subdivision maps and entitlements; and
WHEREAS, Brentwood Municipal Code § 17.800 requires payment of such
processing fees in conjunction with any application submitted for permits,
licenses, subdivision maps and entitlements; and
WHEREAS, on November 14, 2000, by Resolution No. 2198 the City Council
adopted the DMG-Maximus Report for computing fees for City services and
revising the City services fees; and
WHEREAS, the City has compiled certain Cost Allocation Plans, the most
recent of which was adopted August 22, 2006, to compare direct and indirect
administrative costs in providing various services to the community; and
WHEREAS, the City retained Maximus and Management Partners to work with City
staff to review the City’s Planning Division processing fees; and
WHEREAS, City staff, Maximus, and Management Partners researched and
developed costs incurred in response to requests for land use entitlements,
permits, maps, licenses and entitlements, and which proposes a revised
schedule of such fees; and
WHEREAS, the Reports and supporting data were available for public
inspection and review for ten (10) days prior to this public hearing; and
WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was published in the Brentwood Press on
April 13, 2007 and mailed to all interested parties, if any; in accordance
with Government Code Sections 66016 and 66018; and
WHEREAS, the City Council has considered the information provided to it by
those testifying, and has reviewed and considered the information provided
in the staff report and staff presentation and has read and considered the
Reports and supporting data at a Public Hearing held on April 24, 2007.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
Section 1. Findings:
The Council makes each of the following findings:
A. The purpose of the processing fees is to support those City services
which are undertaken as a direct or indirect result of members of the public
using the services of the City, in particular the services of permits,
licenses, subdivision maps and entitlements.
B. After considering the Report and supporting data and the testimony
received at this public hearing, the Council approves and adopts the
amendment to the 2006/ 2007 Cost Allocation Plan for Planning Fees and the
Reports, attached hereto, and incorporates them herein, and further finds
that future development in the City of Brentwood will generate a continued
need for the services specified in the Report.
C. The Reports and the testimony establish:
1. That there is a reasonable relationship between the amount of the fee and
the estimated reasonable cost of providing the type of service for which the
fee is imposed; and
2. The amount of service provided does not exceed what is reasonably
necessary in order to process the requested service;
3. That the cost estimates set forth in the 2006-07 Cost Allocation Plan and
the Report are reasonable and best approximate the direct and indirect
(overhead) costs of City staff and consultants for providing the necessary
service to respond to the public’s requests.
D. The method of allocating the City’s administrative costs of processing
service bears a fair and reasonable relationship to each member of the
public’s burden on, and benefit from, the services requested by that member.
E. The fees do not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of providing the
service for which the fee is charged.
Section 2. Fees Imposed:
A. Each person requesting a service in the City of Brentwood for which a fee
is imposed pursuant to the Report shall pay the processing fee set forth in
the attached Exhibit A, Planning Fees, Proposed Amendment to 2006/2007 Cost
B. On July 1 of each year, the fees shall be automatically adjusted by an
amount equal to the percentage of increase or decrease in the consumer price
index for this region, as last computed before the July 1 date.
C. The fees may also be adjusted if the City updates or modifies the Cost
Allocation Plan or the Report and conducts a public hearing to implement a
new or revised fee or fees based upon such update or modification.
D. The applicable fee shall be determined on the basis of the fee schedule
in effect at the time the application is submitted to the City for the
requested service. The fee shall be payable in full at the time the
application is submitted.
E. The adoption of this Resolution does not affect the ability of the City
to request an agreement between the applicant and the City to pay
extraordinary processing costs and to establish deposit accounts.
F. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, the fee for copying
public records requested by a member of the public, shall not exceed the
direct costs of duplication.
Section 3. Fee Adjustment or Waiver or Reimbursement:
A person subject to the fee imposed pursuant to this Resolution may apply to
the City Council for adjustment to that fee, or a waiver of that fee, or
reimbursement of part or all of the fee, solely by following the written
protest procedure in the time and manner provided by Government Code Section
66020 and detailing the reasons for the adjustment, waiver or reimbursement.
A. A person subject to the fees imposed pursuant to this Resolution that
desires an adjustment or waiver of such fees shall follow the protest
procedure contained in Government Code Section 66020 (as may be amended),
and within the time frame set forth in subsection (d) thereof (as may be
amended) or risk the loss of the legal ability to request such adjustment or
waiver. In no event shall the City waive its right to rely on other
applicable limitations periods, including without limitation those set forth
in Government Code Section 66022 (as may be amended).
B. A person may apply to the City Council for an adjustment to the fees by
filing an application with the City Clerk. The application shall be made in
writing and must identify the reasons why the City’s processing fees should
be adjusted. At a minimum, the reasons should explain why a reasonable
relationship is lacking between the service provided by the City, the costs
incurred by the City for such service and the fees imposed by the City for
C. The application shall be filed with the City Clerk no later than the
deadline for filing protests as mentioned in subpart A. above. The City
Clerk will present the application to the City’s Finance Director or
D. The City’s Finance Director, or designee, shall make a written
determination on the application. The City’s Finance Director, or designee,
may authorize an adjustment so long as the adjustment does not exceed Ten
Percent of the total amount of fees sought to be imposed by the City.
Recommendations by the City’s Finance Director, or designee, for adjustments
in excess of Ten Percent will be forwarded to the City Council for final
determination. The method and timing of implementing the adjustment is
subject to the discretion of the City’s Finance Director (or designee) or
City Council where applicable.
E. Any adjustment granted is limited to the project as proposed. If there is
any change in the project, the fee adjustment is suspended so that the
City’s Finance Director, or City Council where applicable, may re-evaluate
where the adjustment is still appropriate.
F. Decisions of the City’s Finance Director, or designee, are subject to
appeal to the City Council so long as such appeal is made in writing and
within 10 days of the decision.
Section 4. Use of Fee Revenues:
The revenues raised by payment of these fees, along with any interest
earned, shall be used to pay for the City’s administrative costs spelled out
in the Report, including without limitation the capital costs and labor and
contract costs directly or indirectly associated with providing the
Section 5. Subsequent Analysis of the Fees:
The fees established herein are adopted and implemented by the Council in
reliance on the comprehensive studies that have been prepared by the City
and consultants to the City. During the coming years, the City will continue
to gather additional information that may affect the nature, scope and type
of services to be provided in response to requests of the public.
Notwithstanding any term or condition of any permit, subdivision map,
license or entitlement granted by the City, it is existing policy that the
City Council may revise the fees to incorporate the findings and conclusions
of further studies, as well as increases due to inflation, and that such
revisions shall apply to any prior approved projects, as well as new
Section 6. Effective Date of Revised Fees:
The fees shall be effective sixty (60) days after the adoption of this
Resolution; provided, however, that, upon enactment of this Resolution, any
person may pay the revised fees instead of the current fees.
Section 7. Severability:
Each component of the fees and all portions of this Resolution are
severable. Should any individual component of the fee or other provision of
this Resolution be adjudged to be invalid and unenforceable, the remaining
provisions shall be and continue to be fully effective, and the fee shall be
fully effective except as to that portion that has been judged to be
Section 8. Repeal of Inconsistent Resolutions
The portion of Resolution No. 2006-198 pertaining to Planning Fees is hereby
repealed. The remainder of Resolution No. 2006-198 shall remain in full
force and effect.
Section 9. Exemption from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA):
The City Council finds that CEQA does not apply to the adoption of this
Resolution, pursuant to Sections 15061 and 15273 of the State CEQA
A. The fees established by this Resolution will be collected for the
purposes of meeting operational expenses and maintaining service to those
that request it; and
B. Because the fees authorized by this Resolution will be collected at the
application stage of the project, CEQA review will take place during the
processing of the project. Therefore, it can be seen with certainty that the
adoption of this Resolution establishing processing fees will not have a
significant effect on the environment.
Section 10. Statute of Limitations:
Any judicial action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void, or
annul the fees established by this Resolution, or the Resolution itself,
shall be commenced within one hundred twenty (120) days of the passage of
this Resolution. Any action to attack an adjustment adopted pursuant to
Sections 2 or 5 shall be commenced within one hundred twenty (120) days of