Or at least ask civilly. As in, "Please, stop that."
So here's the breaking point. Fees in the City of Sierra Madre, per our City Council not all that long ago, are not going to go up. Even if it meant that the City would have to eat some of the cost of processing those fees. Considering the economy and the City's currently sedate finances it was the reasonably fair thing to do, I guess. But apparently, at least in the minds of certain members of City Staff, there were some exceptions to the rule that required further examination. And these would be business licensing fees. They are different than picnic table fees, or sign hanging fees, and couldn't be considered a part of the previous decision. Or so they felt. And that was what was being discussed last night.
To hear it from Joe Mosca, those businesses whose fees would have gone up - despite previous assurances that they wouldn't - should not consider it to be an increase. Rather the reason you would have been paying higher fees is because they have actually gone down. But they really have gone down because the overall average combined fee costs (and with fewer categories, mind you), is less. And just because your business license fees have gone up (and there were quite a few that would have done just that) you shouldn't be concerned because the City would be taking in less money.
Obviously that would have gone over like a lead balloon while at the same time making previous promises not to raise fees a city-wide laughing stock. And adjustments were made to make sure no such embarrassment occurred, and that no fees were raised.
Out of the 4 Councilmembers attending this meeting only Mayor Mosca seemed to have a problem with it. His priority being the sanctity of the General Fund. His attempt to explain that just because fees are going up shouldn't be taken to mean that fees are going up was classic Joe.
But here's the thing that I don't quite get. We pay taxes to the City in order that things we need (or think we need) get done. And one of those things is processing fee applications. However, and somehow this one got by everyone, fee consultants somehow convinced the City Council that those wanting to do business here should not only pay their business fees, but also the costs of the employees that process fee paperwork.
So those commercial interests in town whose taxes pay for things like City employee salaries are now also expected to pay costs associated with City employee salaries a second time when they file the fee paperwork the City says they have to file in order to get a business license. And if businesses don't file their paperwork and cover the costs to cover the manpower of employees whose salaries they also pay for in taxes, well, the City gets unfriendly. It's kind of like being required to spend money in order to spend more money. Or else.
So what's the next step? An additional fee expense to cover the costs of processing fee expenses that you'd incur by sending in fee paperwork when you pay for a business license? The possibilities in the rabbit hole are endless.
Help Save The Arcadia Woodlands
Joe and John might not have been too excited about considering this matter last night (it wasn't agendized, you see), but the fight to save the Arcadia Woodlands goes on. At Highland Oaks Elementary School in Arcadia there will be a public hearing tomorrow evening on this crisis at 7PM. This could be one of the last chances to help save this 11 acre grove of sycamore and 100 year old oak trees from the buzz saws of the LA County Public Works Department.
For the Green Committee it might all be about high-density development, but there are still some of us around who believe that a more true ecological concern is saving God's beautiful creations for future generations.