State Rep. T. R. Rowe and other state legislators have voted against a measure that would authorize cities and towns to add a surcharge to fees they charge on municipal services.
Rowe said the proposed law is vague in that it does not specify what fees can be increased, on what services and who would pay the fee increases.
However, the measure narrowly passed the Planning and Development Committee May 4 by a 9-7 margin and now goes on to the full House of Representatives for future debate and vote. If approved, it would then go to the state Senate.
“Especially in difficult economic times, we should be cautious about raising fees on residents, homeowners and small business people who already are struggling,” said Rep. Rowe. “I understand cities and towns also are having a hard time, but so are taxpayers, and they should be our primary concern. Government on all levels needs to make due with less.”
The bill, HB 6560, gives municipalities authority to impose a surcharge on any municipal service for which state law sets a fee.
The surcharge must equal no more than the municipality’s costs for providing the service, including costs for reviewing and taking action on applications and petitions, certified mailing, publishing notices and decisions, monitoring permit compliance and salaries for employees who provide the service.