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Huntington Woods to study municipal fees for all departments

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 11, 2020


HUNTINGTON WOODS — The Huntington Woods City Commission approved a study that will review the city’s municipal fees and rates.

The commission approved the study at its Feb. 4 meeting. According to city documents, Huntington Woods’ Long Range Budget & Planning Committee gave a recommendation to evaluate the rates and fees of the Recreation Department. The city moved to review the rates and fees of all departments, with a goal to find a price that covers any operations, where possible, without reducing participation from residents in the activities.

“The idea was to make sure that the programs and activities that are covered by the revenue that we bring in covers the cost,” City Manager Amy Sullivan said. “So we need to be able to determine exactly what the cost is to provide the service — say the pool, for example — and kind of backtrack what the rates need to be in order to cover those costs.”

A proposal submitted by Municipal Analytics established that the study would take three to four months and would cost a price not to exceed $14,800. There also will be a benchmark study to review the user fees of nearby cities, including Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Ferndale, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak, for $3,250.

The city departments that will be reviewed are the Recreation, Public Safety and Water departments. The library and City Hall also will be reviewed.

Resident Claire Galed agreed that it is important for Huntington Woods to look at what other cities are doing, but she didn’t understand why this wasn’t something that could be done in-house.

“What they’re going to do is exactly what staff people can do, and we do have staff that can do it,” she said. “They’re going to sit down and look at websites. We tend to spend money all over the place and (on) things that could be done in-house.”

Sullivan noted that there are some activities that are covering their costs. City Commissioner Michelle Elder felt it might be beneficial for the analytical team to get anonymous feedback at a staff level to find cost efficiencies.

“That way, it’s candid … an open, honest, protected way of gaining information, because people that are doing the day-to-day work will understand their jobs the best,” she said.