The City shall implement user charges in lieu of general revenue sources for identified services where the costs are related to the level of service.To that, the city has laid out some very specific policies around user charges, the highlights include:
- The City shall establish user charges and fees at a level that reflects the service costs.
- The City shall consider market rates charged by other organizations.
- Non-Resident Charges will be used “whenever practical…to minimize the tax burden on City residents”
- Charges for water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste collection shall be set at rates sufficient to finance all direct and indirect operating, capital and debt service costs.
Except where required by law or generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), no revenues shall be dedicated for specific purposes. All non-restricted revenues shall be deposited in the General Fund and appropriated through the annual budget process.I see this policy document as an articulation of the City of Minneapolis' conscious decision to cap the increase in property tax rate and rely on user charges to make up the revenue differences. These revenue differences are then plopped into the general fund, unless otherwise mandated by law or GAAP. Given Fisher’s definition of how a user fee should behave, the City of Minneapolis’ version of user charges seems to me more like a local tax than anything else. What do you think?