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Fees proposed for city hall tours

Groups visiting Richmond City Hall could soon face fees of over $2,000 to allow budget-balancing bureaucrats to recover staff and facility costs.

Proposed Monday, the new fee schedule would only apply to corporate and other for-profit groups—tours for non-profit groups such as school groups, government and sister city delegations would remain free.

Drafting a formal fee-filled policy “is not seeking to expand this program but rather to manage these requests more efficiently and to allow for some cost recovery of staff and facility expenses associated with providing these services,” noted Amarjeet Rattan, director of the city’s intergovernmental relations unit, in a report to a council committee.

In 2013, Richmond entertained 23 formal requests for city hall visits. In 2012, 39 groups made requests.

Today, for-profit groups are only charged for room rentals, plus $50 per hour for each staff presenter.

Under the new proposal, basic city hall tours—which include a presentation in council chambers—would cost $500, plus room rental fees. For more time-intensive delegations and study tours—such as corporations seeking information on best practices—fees are higher: $500 for up to two hours, $1,000 for up to four hours and $2,000 for longer periods.

The change could result in modest revenue for the city—$5,000 annually, according to Rattan.

Those rates are, however, expected to drop. On Monday council directed staff to reduce some of the fees before the new policy goes to a final vote Jan. 13.

Richmond City Hall visitors in 2013

•9 tours for Richmond school groups

•1 tour for Japan school group

•4 tours for other non-profit groups

•7 non-profit delegations

•2 for-profit delegations

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