Miami-Dade Mayor seeks far-ranging fee hikes, from water to libraries
Written by Jesse Scheckner on August 21, 2018
New or amended service fees included in Miami-Dade’s forthcoming budget are projected to yield the county $54.35 million in fiscal 2018-19, with more than half coming from hikes in Water and Sewer rates.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez last week sent to county commissioners for review a chart detailing new and adjusted fees, rates and charges for nine departments.
Water and Sewer topped the list, with upcharges expected to pull in $26,619,700 through September 2019.
Bottoming out the list, the Public Library System will discontinue overdue fines for an annual loss of about $108,000, a sum expected to be recouped by eliminated redundant book purchases.
“[It] is expected that more materials will be returned, reducing the need to purchase duplicate materials which will offset revenue reductions,” the chart states.
Increased fee card sales for out-of-county library patrons due to lowered pricing and a $10 hike to the passport processing fee, which alone is predicted to produce $81,000 in the next fiscal cycle, are also expected to offset losses from cutting late return fees.
Various raised retail charges to water meter and wastewater base facility rates are “needed to ensure funding is adequate to cover the fixed costs of the system,” according to the chart. They make up the preponderance of $54.35 million extra the county stands to gain, with a more than $25 million joint revenue impact.
A seven-cent reduction in the water wholesale rate per 1,000 gallons could save taxpayers more than $2.84 million. That number is expected to be offset by increased revenue from a wastewater wholesale, whose fee, while unchanged from last year, would be refunded at a lower rate than in fiscal 2017-18 for an added revenue impact of about $4.21 million.
Adjusted and new Aviation Department fees the county will charge airlines and airport tenants are predicted to contribute $11,839,619 to county funds next year.
Two-cent hikes to every seat on domestic and international flights “to recover costs associated with screening checkpoints.”
Increases to terminal rent per square foot of $0.42 to $0.85 for airline service facilities such as ticket and interline counters, passenger service centers, airline club rooms, air-conditioned office space, baggage service rooms, baggage claim and hold rooms.
One-cent increases for hourly use of lounges and ticket counters by carriers without proprietary use equipment.
An 85 cent increased monthly rate for common-use self-service units.
Eight-cent general aviation domestic and international concourse fee increases.
Five cents extra per square foot of airport land, according to an independent appraiser’s report.
An 18 cent hike to the flowage fee per gallon for fuel delivered by hydrant.
One cent extra yearly per square foot on aeronautical and non-aviation land leased at Miami-Opa-Locka Executive Airport and aeronautical land at Miami Executive Airport.
Reductions of 24 cents for Class I ticket counter usage, 20 cents for Class IV baggage makeup, as well as a $5.28 cut to the maximum daily ticket counter usage rate.
Standard manual rate reductions for common use terminal equipment of $1.78 to $12.47, depending on aircraft specs.
Reductions to common use terminal equipment rates “specific to airlines that don’t reserve equipment in a timely manner” of $3.56 to $24.94, depending on aircraft specs.
A new penalty fee for applied for all under-reported contractual revenues of either 18% of the annual rate.
A $100 daily penalty fee for concessionaires and tenants that fail to comply with request for mandatory responses.
A $100 permit penalty fee for each customer an airline fails to report.
New and amended fees from the county’s Regulatory and Economic Resources Department will bring the county an extra $8,789,944, according to the chart.
A new $300 “Stipulated Agreement Preparation” fee enabling the county to recover the costs of preparing stipulated agreements for building permits and neighborhood compliance enforcement cases would, according to the chart, bring in $120,000 for the county.
More modestly, new $150 fees intended to recover the costs of processing extensions for contractor enforcement cases are projected to earn $1,800 more for the county.
Numerous new and optional “Expedite Fees” of 150% to 200% of current processing fees would be payable to the department if accepted by commissioners, including:
Various expedited letters interpreting proposed developments in accordance with the county’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan, which would add $11,490 revenue.
An $880.64 “Zoning History Research Expedite Fee,” which would “expedite the complex zoning verifications on a specific property as requested by the public or prospective developers” from 21 to seven days, yielding a estimated $12,329 in added revenue.
Various “Zoning Review Expedite” fees, which would shorten from 21 to seven days the time it takes for development applicants to receive a review of either an administrative or hearing zoning review. Such fees would generate $22,640 for the county, the chart shows.
Various “Final Plat Expedite” fees, which would generate $8,250 for the county in fiscal 2018-19.
A $750 “Platting and Traffic Expedite Fee,” with a $1,500 annual revenue gain.
A $1,800 “Paving and Drainage Expedite Fee” to speed paving and drainage plan approvals, for $7,200 added revenue.
Various “Environmental Development Impact Review Expedite” fees, which would shorten from 30 to 15 days the time it takes for developers to receive reviews of zoning and plat applications from the Department of Environmental Resource Management, adding $79,000 in annual revenue.
A $40 “Stormwater Utility Research Expedite Fee,” expected to earn the county an added $17,500.
Various rate hikes to Seaport fees for services such as dockage, cargo and passenger wharfage, terminal storage, crane utilization and labor and open ground leases would, if accepted, pull in about $3.7 million in fiscal 2018-19.
Increased Solid Waste Management fees are expected to generate $3.07 million in the next fiscal cycle, according to the chart, with the majority – about $2.84 million – coming from waste disposal and special handling fee increases of $1.66 to $2.42.
Proposed fee changes and additions to the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, Animal Services and Fire Rescue departments together are estimated to increase county revenue by $442,901.
The budget is scheduled for review Aug. 29 by the Government Operations Committee. However, Mr. Giménez warned, any amendments to the budget might cause unwanted collateral changes.
“Changes to these recommendations would require service adjustments to maintain a balanced budget,” he wrote. “As the Board of County Commissioners (Board) is aware, the cost of providing services is impacted by many factors, including increased personnel costs and normal inflationary factors on daily operations. The proposed fee rates, and/or changes are developed so that the costs associated with providing services are supported by the user of the specific service.”