Dakota County is not raising property taxes next year, but it does plan to raise fees the county charges for various services.
The county’s financial services division is proposing a 2 percent increase for a large number of fees, including some park fees, map fees, plat fees and fees for jail inmates.
One prominent fee is proposed to come down, however. The application fee for a permit to carry a gun is proposed to drop from $100 to $75 and the renewal fee from $85 to $75 because the county has found that is enough to cover the cost of the service.
The county sets fee prices to cover the cost of delivering the service for which the fee is paid, said Stephanie Shawback, director of the county’s financial services division. In 2006, the county determined the cost of each service and since then has increased fees to keep up with inflation, she said.
The increases proposed for next year in part reflect a possible 3 percent raise for county employees, as well as inflationary increases in the costs of energy, fuel, materials and supplies, Shawback said.
The proposed 2 percent increase ranges from as little as $1 to as much as $1,000 in the case of sanitary landfill licenses.
Some fees will be new. A fee of $60 has been established for an overnight stay in the new camper cabins coming for the first time next year in Whitetail Woods Regional Park.
Hunters also will encounter a new $10 daily parking permit fee for waterfowl hunting at Bud’s Landing at Spring Lake Park Reserve near Hastings. That fee is in force now.
If all the proposed fee increases are approved, they would bring in an extra $65,550 in revenue for the county next year.
The fees under discussion generate about $6.1 million, which is about 2 percent of the county’s $292 million 2013 budget.
Members of the public will have the chance to comment on the fee increases at a public hearing before the County Board when it meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Dakota County government center in Hastings. If approved by the board, most of the higher fees would take effect Jan. 1.
Some of the changes:
• With a 2 percent increase, property line maps showing street names and addresses will cost $2.30, up from $2.26 this year. And a large aerial photo of a city will cost $52.13 next year, up from $51.11 this year.
• The sheriff is proposing to raise the fee people pay for each day they spend in county jail, from $21 now to $25 next year. And the fee for inmate urinalysis would rise from $10 to $15.
• The adult probation fee is recommended to rise from $256 to $261 for misdemeanors and from $335 to $342 for felony offenders.
• Juvenile detention services would rise from $248 to $253 per day.
• Solid waste landfill fees are proposed to go up from $62,620 to $63,872 for a license and by nearly $100 for application fees.
• Shoreland or flood plain building permits are proposed to go up from $117 to $119.
• Park fees will be adjusted based on the market for activities and in comparison to what other counties charge. For that reason, many park fees will not change next year, including horse trail passes, cross-country ski passes, archery trail passes and community garden plot rentals.
Park fees proposed to increase include a change from $17 per night to $20 per night for a no-hook-up campsite at Lebanon Hills Regional Park. The campground reservation fee is proposed to rise from $7 to $8.
At Whitetail Woods Regional Park, the fee to reserve the 100-person picnic shelter at the new park is proposed at $100 for weekends and $80 for weekdays.
• County review and checking of plat fees and registered land surveys would cost about $10 more, up from $715 to $725 next year. Substantial revisions to plat documents would carry a fee of $725, up from $715 this year.
Some fees will not change.
Because it is specified by law, the county will not increase the fee for copies of government data. It will remain at 25 cents a page for the first 100 pages reproduced in black and white. The 10-cent charge for electronic images of property records also won’t change.
Fees for copies of private and nonpublic data will continue to carry a charge that covers the “actual and reasonable cost to search for, retrieve, make, certify, compile and transmit the data and the copies,” the county said.