New Civic Center Act Fee Regulations Issued

The State Board of Education on January 15, 2014 issued new regulations to implement S.B. 1404 from 2012, authorizing school districts to impose Civic Center Act user fees that include costs of maintenance, repair, restoration, and refurbishment of school facilities or grounds in proportion to their use. These regulations are at Title 5, California Code of Regulations, sections 14037-14042.

The regulations, which expire January 1, 2020, are to be used to determine the specific allowable costs and the proportionate share of those costs that can be charged. The fees calculated by this method are the maximum amount that a district is authorized to charge, and it should be noted that districts may elect to charge lower fees based on the type or category of applicant, such as tax-exempt entities, or to waive fees entirely.

When electing to charge fees pursuant to the Civic Center Act, the governing board must adopt a fee schedule that includes the hourly fee for each specific facility and grounds (similar or “like” facilities or grounds can be grouped together). Districts may charge for “capital direct costs” only, “operational direct costs” only, or both capital and operational direct costs.

“Capital direct costs” are determined by: (a) determining the useful life of the facility; (b) estimating the expected cost to repair, restore, refurbish or replace the facility, as applicable, at the end of the useful life; and (c) dividing that cost by the number of years of useful life to determine an annual cost. “Operational direct costs” are determined by:

(a) determining the annual cost of salaries and benefits for all employee labor or contract services required to operate, clean and maintain the facility or grounds, including janitorial, security, and set up and tear down, as required;

(b) the annual cost of supplies, including equipment, required to operate and maintain the facility or grounds;

(c) the annual cost of utilities required to operate the facility or grounds; and

(d) the prorated portion of annual salaries and benefits for the time of school employees associated with administering these user fees.

The “proportionate share” of the “capital direct costs” or “operational direct costs” that can be charged to a user is determined by dividing the estimated annual hours that a facility or grounds is expected to be used by applicants by the estimated annual hours that a facility or grounds is available for use by anyone, including the district.

Funds that are collected as “capital direct costs” are required to be deposited in a special fund used only for capital maintenance, repair, restoration, and refurbishment.

If you have any questions regarding the Civic Center Act or civic center user fees, please contact our office.

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