Chapter 3.80


3.80.010    Purpose and applicability.

3.80.020    Fees for programs and services.

3.80.030    Annual fee indexing.

3.80.040    Periodic fee review.

3.80.050    Coordination of fee changes among departments.

3.80.060    Large project review.

3.80.010 Purpose and applicability.

The purpose of this chapter is to mandate certain requirements of all county departments when charging fees to the public. Fees for programs and services provided by county departments are subject to the requirements of this chapter. [Ord. 2-23 § 2 (Appx. A)]

3.80.020 Fees for programs and services.

(1) Any new fee schedule proposed by a county department or office that is not within the jurisdiction of the board of health shall be adopted by resolution of the board of county commissioners, starting on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. Any new fee schedule proposed that is within the jurisdiction of the board of health shall be adopted by resolution of the board of health, starting on the effective date of ordinance codified in this chapter. Any fee schedule adopted pursuant to this section is hereby adopted by reference and incorporated into this section. Other fees and policies adopted in the Appendix Fee Schedule remain in effect.

(2) Updates to fee schedules adopted pursuant to subsection (1) of this section occur on an annual basis concurrent with budget adoption by the board of county commissioners.

(3) County departments shall make all reasonable efforts to make fee schedules easily and widely available to the public, including the following:

(a) The current fee schedule(s) shall be posted on the county website;

(b) Hard copies of the current fee schedule(s) shall be available at the physical public interface of the county department. The department may also post its fee schedule on a wall that will be seen by the public;

(c) Department employees shall promptly provide by mail or email copies of the fee schedule(s) upon request to any member of the public;

(d) A copy of current fee schedules for all county departments will be on file at the county commissioners’ office; and

(e) The department shall provide copies of the current fee schedule to any interest group associated with the activities of the department upon request. [Ord. 2-23 § 2 (Appx. A)]

3.80.030 Annual fee indexing.

(1) Fixed amount fees established pursuant to this chapter shall be adjusted annually on the first business day of January (“adjustment date”) by the amount of the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPIW). The CPIW is the Consumer Price Index – U.S. City Average for All Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the United States Department of Labor.

(2) The annual fee adjustment shall be calculated as follows: Each fee in effect immediately prior to the adjustment date will be increased by the percentage increase in the CPIW as reported for the month of September preceding the adjustment date. Increases will be rounded to the nearest dollar. A fee shall not be reduced by reason of such calculation. However, fee increases in accordance with this calculation shall not exceed five percent per year.

(3) Copies of the adjusted fee schedule shall be available as required by JCC 3.80.020. The adjusted fee schedule will show the prior year fees, the CPIW, and the new fee. [Ord. 2-23 § 2 (Appx. A)]

3.80.040 Periodic fee review.

(1) At minimum, once every three years, but no more frequently than once per year, each county department or office charging fees established under this chapter will evaluate the fee schedule for consistency with applicable laws, regulations and fee policies adopted by the board of commissioners.

(2) Each department’s periodic fee review will consider at least the following factors:

(a) Service cost recovery;

(b) Public versus private service benefit;

(c) Relation of fees to department goals;

(d) Other available funding sources; and

(e) Comparison fees in adjacent counties, statewide averages and other comparable areas.

(3) In conducting the periodic fee review, the department shall also consider the following principles in structuring fees:

(a) Efficiency. The fees are easy to understand and are not cumbersome to administer;

(b) Transparency. The department can demonstrate to members of the public a documented process for identifying the costs of activities and a clear formula for the setting of fees;

(c) Effectiveness. The fees provide value to the person charged;

(d) Clarity. Users are clear about when and how fees apply;

(e) Equity. The fees are fairly applied across a range of users that have different socioeconomic circumstances; and

(f) Consideration of service needs. Users with special service needs (for example, due to temporary or permanent disability) are not charged exorbitant fees directly in accord with the cost of higher servicing requirements.

(4) A report on a periodic fee review that could result in a change to the fees shall be submitted to the board of county commissioners for deliberation during regular session. [Ord. 2-23 § 2 (Appx. A)]

3.80.050 Coordination of fee changes among departments.

When coordination in fee collection among county departments is necessary for projects requiring review from more than one county department, the department with the lead for review of the project shall be responsible for collecting billing information for the project, invoicing charges and collecting invoices. [Ord. 2-23 § 2 (Apex. A)]

3.80.060 Large project review.

(1) Large Project – How Determined. A large project is a project determined by the department with the lead for review to be a large project (“lead director”). The lead director may designate a project as a large project, after considering the following:

(a) The complexity of the project;

(b) Whether the project involves multiple departments or agencies; and

(c) Whether the project requires contracts with third-party reviewing agencies or contractors.

(2) Retainer – Authority to Require and How Calculated. The lead director may require a retainer from an applicant for a project designated as a large project, consistent with the requirements of this section. The lead director is granted authority to require a retainer if he or she determines a retainer is necessary to ensure adequate compensation of the department for reasonable costs associated with processing the application or completing project review without disruption.

(a) Amount of Retainer.

(i) The lead director shall calculate the amount of the retainer based on review of the application and an assessment of the time necessary to complete staff review and a decision on the application, as well as any necessary third-party review.

(ii) The lead director may specify terms and conditions upon which services and materials are made available.

(iii) The fees charged in the retainer shall be consistent with the reasonable estimated costs to the county for furnishing such services or materials, as may be established in the applicable fee schedule.

(b) Replenishment of Retainer. The lead director may, from time to time, require replenishment of a retainer as necessary to ensure continued timely processing of the application.\

(c) Interest shall not be paid on moneys held on deposit or retainer.

(d) Moneys remaining on deposit or retainer upon completion or cancellation of the service shall be refunded to the applicant.

(3) Schedule for Payment. In addition to requiring a retainer, the lead director may establish a regular schedule for payment of fees, if he or she deems it necessary to ensure prompt payment for services rendered by the county.

(4) Failure to Pay Retainer or Required Fees. If, at any time during a large project application, the applicant or proponent does not timely pay for fees incurred, the lead director may order department staff to cease review of the application until a retainer or the required fees are submitted and paid to the department. [Ord. 2-23 § 2 (Appx. A)]