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City fees slated to increase

The price of a range of permits--including those for police, regulated businesses and use of municipal park facilities--will go up if dozens of proposed fee hikes advanced by a San Diego City Council committee Wednesday are ultimately approved.

The fee increases would raise as much as $2.6 million for the San Diego Police Department alone.

Slated to go up is the cost for a permit for a range of adult entertainment businesses, firearms dealers, money exchanges, message establishments, holistic health practitioners and swap meets.

For example, a permit for operating an outcall nude entertainment business would go from $2,800 to $15,702 under the proposal. The penalty for police responding to a false burglary alarm at homes and businesses would also go up.

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The City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted 4-1 to forward the proposed fee increases for the Police Department to the full City Council for consideration.

Expressing concern for the impact on small businesses, the committee put off a decision on whether to more than double the cost of securing entertainment permits.

Councilman Carl DeMaio, who cast the lone dissenting vote, assailed the proposal, arguing that the city was unfairly targeting businesses to offset San Diego’s projected $60 million budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

“My concern is that we’re here today to raise revenue because of the city’s budget deficit and we are doing it through the approach of nickeling and diming San Diego residents and businesses to death,’' he said.

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The Budget Committee also forwarded about $1.2 million in proposed park and recreation fee increases to the City Council for consideration, including higher rates for pool rentals, boat mooring permits, recreation facility use and for participating in youth athletic leagues.

Other proposed fee increases include upping the fine for overdue library books from 25 cents to 30 cents per day; increasing the cost to place a newsrack on a city street from $10 to $15; and raising from $25 to $40 the charge to obtain a permit to operate a pedicab.

Mayor Jerry Sanders has until April 14 to deliver a balanced budget to the City Council for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The City Council will consider the fee hikes during its subsequent budget deliberations.