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County implements new fees
Increases to camping, landfill costs approved

Changes are coming soon to the Stanislaus County fee schedule following the May 22 Board of Supervisors meeting, where new fees for several departments were approved and multiple existing fees were either amended or eliminated altogether.

New costs for the county departments of Parks and Recreation, Planning and Community Development, Environmental Resources and Public Works were approved unanimously by the Board and come after community input was received at several stakeholder meetings earlier in the year.

Some of the new fees for the Department of Environmental Resources are meant to help with program cost recovery, the department's Director Jami Aggers said, while others are due to changes in the consumer price index change.

New language will be added in the public water systems program to clarify the max penalty for a citation (not to exceed $1,000 per day), and the same will be done for the hazardous materials penalty (not to exceed $10,000 per day).

The only fee that will be amended is the weighted labor rate (from $111 per hour to $116 per hour), and several landfill fees will undergo changes.

The historic Fink Road Landfill solid material (inert) fee will be eliminated entirely - dumping dirt, rock, gravel or any other kind of inert material was formerly a $5 per ton fee, but will now be categorized under the normal refuse fee, which is currently $33 per ton.

Aggers explained that the change comes as an effort to decrease inert material in the landfill after a study showed that Fink Road's prices were too low.

"We were receiving a lot of that type of material and a lot of it is coming from out of the county. That's because our fee is so low," she said. "...None of our surrounding competitors charge a fee that low, so we think it will help control importing of that material...we would like to save that valuable landfill space for not so much inert material."

An additional change, but one that changes annually, is the Ash from the Waste Energy Facility fee, which will increase from $27.38 per ton to $28.19 per ton.

New Parks and Recreation fees will be implemented for the four regional parks in Stanislaus County, including the off-road parks Frank Raines and LaGrange and the Modesto and Woodward reservoirs. Currently, these four areas generate $3.1 million in revenue annually, but a recent study showed a need for more funds to be used for operations and maintenance.

"The most recent evaluation showed a need to continue to increase revenue in order to maintain a balanced budget as costs continue to rise, and to lessen the reliance on the General Fund," she said.

At the parks visitors will notice an elimination of the current Stanislaus County resident day use discount. Instead, there will now be a flat rate of $15 for all visitors. The rates for having vehicles at a campsite are also set to increase by $5, as will their associated senior/veteran discounts.

The Department of Public Works is hoping that a new storm water fee - an hourly encroachment rate of $95 per hour for construction engineering services - will help recover a nearly $200,000 deficit as a result of uncollected permit activities related to construction.

After approval by the Board of Supervisors, fee changes will become effective on June 22, with the exception of the landfill fees that become effective July 1. More information about fee increases, amendments and eliminations can be found on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors May 15 Meeting Agenda,