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Paynesville Press - June 25, 2003

Stearns County Commissioners

The commissioners received more fee increase proposals from the county auditor-treasurer, the county assessor, environmental services, the county recorder, county parks, information services, and the sheriff's department.

Some of the fees would increase on July 1, 2003, and others would increase on Jan. 1, 2004.

Proposed fee increases for July 1, 2003, include: notary fees (from $1 to $2); off sale beer licenses (from $30 to $50); on sale beer licenses (from $155 to $170 per year); liquor off sale licenses (from $258 to $275 per year); park shelter permits (from $30 to $40 per day, no caretakers; from $35 to $45 per day with caretakers from M-TH; and from $35 to $50 per day with caretakers from F-S); park vehicle permits (from $3.50 to $4 per day and from $12 to $14 per year); and providing sheriff's deputies for building moving (from $27 to $50 per hour per deputy).

Proposed fee increases for Jan. 1, 2004, include: on sale beer licenses (from $170 to $180 per year); liquor off sale licenses (from $275 to $286 per year); liquor on sale licenses (from $2,200 to $2,250); plat books (from $25 to $30); feedlot construction permit (from $100 to $125); feedlot processing fee for MPCA (from $75 to $100 for 1-99 animal units, from $125 to $150 for 100-299, from $300 to $350 for 300-499, and from $500 to $600 for 500 or more); food service licenses (from $104 to $125 for 1-4 employees, from $177 to $200 for 5-18 employees, from $260 to $300 for 19-28 employees, and from $437 to $450 for 36 or more employees); beverage licenses (same as fee increases for food service licenses); septic system site evaluation (from $150 to $175); septic system planning certificate (from $75 to $100); septic system reinspection (from $100 to $150); shoreland alteration permit (from $100 to $150 for minor alterations and from $200 to $250 for major alterations); wetland site inspection of consultant delineation (from $35 to $40 per hour); construction site permit (from $100 to $125); variances (from $225 to $250); conditional use permits (from $250 to $300).

All departments did a fee study before recommending these increases. The study determined the county's cost for the service and compared the current fee to fees in other counties of similar size. The study found that taxpayers were paying a good portion of the overall cost of providing these services. By raising fees, the county would be charging the user of the service instead of adding the cost onto the tax levy

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