LAYTON -- Utility bills in Layton will include a new fee in the very near future.
City leaders have approved a new consolidated fee schedule, which includes a $2 per month per household fee to purchase street lights from Rocky Mountain Power. The street light purchase is expected to save the city money over time. The fee was one of four approved on the new fee schedule.
Other changes in the fee schedule include:
* A 2 percent credit card fee for all city payments made exceeding $75. City Manager Alex Jensen noted developers increasingly are using credit cards to pay big fees owed to the city to capitalize on credit card benefits and the surcharge will prevent city residents from essentially subsidizing those benefits.
* A move to change the rate in the hotel sanitary fee charged per room, per month. The new fee will reduce the fee from $10.86 per room to $6.38 per room and comes after a 10-year review of water usage at local hotels.
* A new fee schedule for future use of the city's fire training facility, which is under construction on Fort Lane.
The street lighting fee is a major component of the city's 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. Final passage of the spending plan is scheduled for June 20 following a public hearing.
Councilman Barry Flitton was among council members who supported the new fee schedule, but he also raised questions about potentially imposing a sunset clause on the lighting fee.
He called the city purchase of street lighting, estimated to save as much as $18,000 a month, a no-brainer, but said it becomes too easy for fees to become entrenched once approved.
"If you're charging a fee, you have to show you're getting something for it. After it's paid off, what are we going to show?" Flitton asked.
Under existing guidelines the new fee could help the city complete purchase of street lights within a four-year span. Budget Director Tracy Probert was hesitant about imposing a sunset clause on the fee, because city leaders don't know how much it will cost to maintain the lighting system, once they own it. He said every utility should be self-
As part of the lighting system, city officials have also talked about the ability to potentially install street lighting in some older neighborhoods where there isn't lighting in place. Councilman Scott Freitag said if expanding street lights in the city isn't part of the approach, then the fee should have a sunset clause, but he sees the lighting purchase as only phase one of the city's approach to street lights.
Flitton still worries however about any new fee without a sunset clause.
"A fee, if it never goes away, is a tax."