EIP Report examines fee schedules

Part of oversight of county resources is knowing what the services you provide cost.

And adjusting fees accordingly.

“A lot of the row offices provide services to the public,” Mark Morgan, director of the consulting firm that the county contracted with for the Early Intervention Program report. “A lot of those services, almost all, have a related cost to them.”

He said there hasn’t been a study to determine whether the “fees being charged are adequate to cover the cost of the fees to the public.”

The goal, he said, would be to recover all of the cost.

The City of Warren periodically updates its fee schedule in this way in order to recover the staff costs associated with a host of services.

Several county offices offer services that currently include fees, such as the Register and Recorder’s office, Assessment and Planning and Zoning.

The report suggests that the county “charge at least an annual fee for accessing the on-line (assessment) database. The County has spent time and money to maintain this system and most people using that information are real estate agencies or attorneys and are profiting from this service.”

Ed Burris, the county’s veteran’s affairs director, noted that “certain departments are not permitted to charge for services.”

“You’re one of them,” Morgan said to Burris.

The report states that the Register and Recorder’s office should and in fact, does – “review all fees charged and increase appropriately.

“This will bring additional revenue to the county,” the report notes.

“The county must ensure the utilization of allowable fees to aid in funding the row offices and adult probation and any other department where user fees are allowed and charged. In addition the county to extent permitted by law, should ensure fees are adequate to cover the cost of providing the service and should adjust fees accordingly.”