Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, County Administration Center, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

Tuolumne County officials will soon embark on a comprehensive study of all fees charged for services to see if they are either too low, too high or just right.

The county Board of Supervisors will receive a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting on the process that will be used to conduct the study before being asked to consider adjusting the fees beginning later this month.

Some county departments have reviewed and updated the fees they charge for services, though it’s been years since the county has conducted a thorough analysis of all fees charged by departments that contribute to the General Fund.

That means there could be changes coming to fees for services such as property transactions, planning and libraries.

The total amount of money the county anticipates collecting in fees this year is $12.8 million. That’s about 17 percent of the county’s $74 million General Fund, which pays for most core services like law enforcement, fire protection and administration.

Last year, the General Fund received $11.6 million in revenue from fees charged by the various county departments.

Part of the study will also look at the “appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of providing the service,” and whether the service can or should be provided by the private sector as opposed to local government.

A tentative schedule for meetings where the board will consider approving recommended changes to fees by department is as follows:

• Dec. 19: Agriculture Department, Auditor and Office of Revenue Recovery;

• Jan. 2: Animal Control and Standard Park Sports Complex;

• Jan. 16: Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department;

• Feb. 6: County Clerk, Assessor and Library;

• Feb. 20: Planning Department and District Attorney’s Office;

• March 6: Building and Safety Division and Recreation Department programs;

• March 20: Environmental Health Department.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board will consider a proposal for Assessor-Recorder Kaenan Whitman to make personal property in the county valued at less than $5,000 exempt from taxation.

The proposal would eliminate 1,150 accounts from the county’s tax rolls, including boats, mining claims and more than 240 small businesses.

Personal property valued at $2,000 or more is taxed at the state maximum 1 percent per year, which is split up between the county, school districts, utilities and other entities in the area.

Whitman said the staff time and resources spent collecting those taxes can be greater than the return. He noted it would reduce the amount that the county’s General Fund receives by only about $10,500 per year.

“It will save a bit of time for taxpayers who don’t properly file on time and save quite a bit of staff time dealing with smaller accounts, so it’s one of those win-win situations,” Whitman said.

The proposal also calls increasing the tax exemption on temporary use of publicly owned facilities to $50,000 or less. That applies to rentals of facilities such as the Mother Lode Fairgrounds and Sonora Opera Hall.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board is also scheduled to receive a presentation on the Mother Lode Fair’s theme for next year highlighting towns throughout the county as well as an update on the status of the $70 million grant the state received through the federal National Disaster Resilience Competition for projects in the county.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.



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