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To make ends meet, Largo looks at raising fees

LARGO — With Largo facing more budget cuts this year, the city is amending some of its fee ordinances to generate more income and update some fees that have remained unchanged for more than 20 years.

City commissioners voted unanimously for the higher fees Tuesday.

Some of the changes that will go into effect after the amendments pass a second reading:

• Library fines will rise 50 percent, from 10 cents per day for a late book to 15 cents per day. "That aligns them with other libraries that are moving in that direction," said Diane Bruner, the city's clerk.

• The price for fingerprinting by the police department will rise from $6 to $10 to cover increased labor costs.

• The city will charge $500 for reviewing up to three plat pages, which are scale maps used in zoning and construction. The previous charge was $350. According to city documents, the actual cost to the city for the service has averaged $500 for the past two years.

• The city's charge to prepare cemetery plots, which has not changed since 1986, will rise from $35 to $45 if the city is notified 24 hours in advance, and from $70 to $90 if it's notified less than 24 hours in advance.

Despite the unanimous vote, Commissioner Harriet Crozier took issue with the amount the city plans to ask for burial services requested less than 24 hours in advance. She said people may take advantage of having an option to request plot preparation on such short notice, and mistakes could be made in haste.

"I have a problem with the 90 bucks. It should be more," Crozier said.

Despite commissioners' recent scrutiny of the way the city spends, they voted to pay for a number of miscellaneous items.

The payments include $31,387.53 for replacement bulletproof vests for the police department, with up to half that amount being reimbursed with grant money; $81,000 for office furniture; and $5,000 to support the organization Community Action Stops Abuse, which provides supervision for court-appointed visits.

City police Chief Lester Aradi said the aid to the organization would in the end benefit the city.

"Some people might point out this is the wrong time to give our money to other organizations, but if this goes away, it falls on local agencies to take responsibility," he said.

To make ends meet, Largo looks at raising fees 04/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 8:54pm]
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