The Village of Babylon is raising more than a dozen of its fees, some by more than double, to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic.
Parking meter rates went up Aug. 1 from 25 cents for two hours to 25 cents an hour. The rest of the price hikes will take effect Sept. 1, including sign permit application fees, which are increasing from $100 to $200, and occupancy load inspection fees for buildings, which are rising from $100 to $150.
In addition, transcripts of village proceedings such as in the court, which were provided for free, will now cost $395 per application.
The increases come at the suggestion of the village’s budget advisory committee, which is made up of about a half dozen business owners, civic leaders and government officials, Mayor Mary Adams said. Many of the fees haven’t been raised for years, she said, while parking meter prices were last increased in 1999.
“Nobody ever wants anything increased, but because of the lost revenue from COVID, this was one of the recommendations of the committee and I think it’s a good recommendation,” Adams said. “It’s better to be looking at this every year rather than saying down the road, ‘Oh my God, look at where we’re at’ and having to impose more on the taxpayer.”
The other price hikes are for zoning board of appeals and planning board applications. For the ZBA, these include residential zone fees rising from $100 to $250 and marine commercial, retail commercial, industrial and multifamily district zone fees increasing from $250 to $500.
Planning board costs that are increasing are: special permission for decks, fences and driveway alterations, from $50 to $100; site plan reviews, from $250 to $300; commercial property, from $250 to $600; site plan change, from $100 to $150; subdivision of a parcel which requires no roads, from $150 to $500; and subdivision of a property which includes town houses, from a $400 flat fee to $400 per unit.
The village collected $477,055 in parking fees as of April 30 for the fiscal year ending May 31, according to budget documents. In 2020-2021, the amount was $404,485. The village had parking meter revenue of $707,946 for 2019-2020.
Zoning board fees totaled $14,167 as of April 30. In 2020-2021, officials collected $11,650 in fees. The total collected in 2019-2020 was $11,100.
Planning board fees as of April 30 were $6,450, compared to $6,050 collected in 2020-2021, according to the village’s budget documents. The total collected in 2019-2020 was $5,400.
The fee increases help offset outside attorney costs for the boards and also put the village in line with nearby municipalities, Adams said.
“Like everything else, unfortunately, the expenses are going up,” the mayor said.