Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Budget Cutbacks Loom for 2009

I saw on EdHat today that a Noozhawk article points to Goleta Library cutbacks which bums me out as it is one of my favorite places in Goleta. Yet another article on a local MSNBC article points to increases in fees at the County Clerk's and at the Planning Department.

"How does it cost so much to get copies when Kinko's only charges 10 cents," asked Donald Ricketts, attorney for California Public Records Research, a document-management company that has filed written opposition to the fee increase.

Kinko's real cost can't be more than a few cents for a copy. County Clerk Joe Holland is lowering prices on "digital copies" which is more affordable to the title companies that get discs every month....versus individuals who are more likely to pay the following:

In Santa Barbara County, the charge for individual copies of real estate documents is $3 for the first page and $1 for each subsequent page. With the increase, the fees will change to $2 per page. For example, 10 copies under the current fee structure would cost $12, but it would cost $20 under the proposed change.

I like Joe Holland but when he says the fees haven't changed in five years -- I wonder why he would be considering this when the copy fees are high versus the actual cost anyway? That isn't a fair justification for raising fees for something that takes a few moments to copy and very little cost -- even with increases in paper costs. $2 per page -- even at a generous .25 cent cost for the copy, paper and labor -- is eight times what the true cost is. I guess when you have a monopoly, you can charge what you want. What he is really doing is offsetting other costs or future costs with fee increases when he can likely get away with it.

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Anonymous Bob Nelson said...

As stated in the first paragraph of the Santa Maria Times article via MSNBC:

In an effort to recoup retirement, salary and cost-of-living increases, two Santa Barbara County departments are asking the Board of Supervisors to increase fees on services that can only be provided by the county.

It's all about overhead! Especially in government.

1/11/2009 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Do you ever wonder why a drink in a bar costs about 3 to 4 times (or more) than you could make it yourself? Well, the biggest cost of a bar is not the booze, it is rather the rent and the salaries and benefits of the staff. It is the same with Joe Holland's copies. Even though copy machines are notoriously balky and expensive to maintain, it is the cost of the person making the copies that drives the price necessary to recover those costs. You can blame retirement if you like, but that is another interesting subject and another discussion string.

1/12/2009 8:05 AM  

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