City Council discussed birth certificate fee last night and whether that fee, which was increased from $10 to $30 last year, could be waived for certain individuals. Council Member At Large Tamu Graham-Reinhardt said she has had agencies reach out to her about whether the city could waive the fee for low-income individuals,
“For example, most recently a woman came in, she lives at one of the domestic violence centers and she didn’t have the funds to get the birth certificate and things like that or have any proof of identification. So for people who have difficulty paying the fee, I just wonder if that’s something we can revisit that conversation at some point and time?”
Council Member Marie Carrubba said the legality of whether that can be done under municipal law would have to be researched as waiving the fee could be looked at as a gift. She said the city maybe could work with local non-profits or foundations on the issue,
“I have a hard time that when we start doing things waiving fees for certain individuals, it looks like gifting or preferential treatment. And we could possibly be sued by on the matter from other people who feel that ‘I also am financially in need and I can’t afford to pay and I need this.'”
Council Member At Large Kim Ecklund echoed Carrubba’s concern, saying that auditors had flagged the city in the past for fee waivers. She requested Graham-Reinhardt send Council information on the agency that does have some funding for help with fees like this so that information can be shared with the public.