According to this SunThisweek article, the Farmington City Council passed a slew of higher user fees for a variety of city functions but not without discussion as to whether it’s the proper way to take care of city business.
From the article:
Council Member Julie May advocated for simplified methods of taxing and city accounting by paying for city staff and services through the general fund instead of incorporating 15 pages of fees.
Council Member Christy Jo Fogarty said user fees reflect the city’s longstanding pay-as-you-go philosophy of taxation.
“I shouldn’t have to pay for my neighbor’s inspections because he decides to do home improvements on a consistent basis, and vice versa,” she said.
Some would argue this is absolutely the best way to go. By pushing these items into user fees instead of the general levy, taxes can be kept low and those who are looking to utilize services can pay for the work to be done themselves. However, it can also be argued that the city is then micromanaging and meddling in the affairs of its citizens which it should not even know about such as the installation of a water softener in someone’s home.
The philosophy is an interesting one. Should residents of a particular city be taxed across the board to pay for items which could be handled by user fees instead or should user fees be the standard way to deal with rising costs in a particular city? When you make home improvements do you feel like you’re nickel and dimed to death with permit fees, inspection fees, etc? Would you rather just a few dollars overall yearly instead or does the thought of potentially paying for work benefitting others irk you beyond belief? Whatever you have to say about this one, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.