Fee Studies & Cost Allocation Plans

Got fees?

Are your fees up to date? Is your cost allocation plan in order? You need to get your organization’s finances in order, but you don’t know where to start. We can help analyze and identify your costs, fees, and overhead. This will provide a foundation to organize sustainable fee structures going forward.

You need revenue.
You need a plan.

Let us guide you through those first steps to identify where the costs lie and from where the revenue will flow. We will define alternatives, review various industry practices and local perspectives, and consider both strengths and opportunities in existing systems. We will help you put in place sustainable and defensible revenue streams through Federal or State grant reimbursements, inter-fund transfers, and comprehensive fee programs. We use this “financial road map” in our approach to every project.

We provide sage analysis in the form of an Overhead Cost Allocation Plan, which distributes the general governmental and support services costs of a city, county or special district to the direct services and activities provided to the public. We prepare plans for local agencies that comply with federal regulations, known as Title 2 CFR Part 200 (formerly known as OMB A-87), for purposes of audit and/or reimbursement. In addition, these plans are used for optimal budgeting purposes and intended for use for many forms of cost recovery efforts.


Development Impact Fees (DIF) are a one-time fee imposed to generate funds for the new or expanded infrastructure required because of development, whether commercial or residential. They are not to be used for ongoing operations and maintenance needs. We help local governments to identify the areas where such fees are needed, discuss the policy aims, and develop the rigorous study to justify such fees.


A Fee Study identifies the full costs of service eligible for recovery from fees and translates those costs into a workable fee structure for various programs and/or services. The full costs of service are derived for each service or activity and, in most cases, is first expressed as a fully burdened hourly rate applicable to the time necessary to perform the service or activity. It is important to have a strong overall understanding of an agency’s cost structure before designing these fees, and then to have a dialogue about cost recovery policies for them. We guide public agencies through these processes with upfront discussions, in-depth analysis and recommendations.


Rates, Fees and Charges Compendium

For a copy of the NBS booklet on Rates, Fees and Charges in the Post-Proposition 13, 218 and 26 Era in California, click below.

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Client Case Studies

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User Fee Study – City of Fountain Valley
December 2, 2016

User Fee Study – City of Fountain Valley

Fountain Valley is located in Orange County, California. With over 57,000 residents and a City budget of just…

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Cost Allocation Plan and Fee Study – Town of Ross
February 28, 2016

Cost Allocation Plan and Fee Study – Town of Ross

NBS conducted a Full Cost Allocation Plan and Comprehensive Fee Study for the Town of Ross, a wealthy…

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Cost Allocation Plan – City of Carlsbad Fire Prevention Services
September 26, 2016

Cost Allocation Plan – City of Carlsbad Fire Prevention Services

NBS was retained by the City of Carlsbad to provide a user fee study for fire prevention services in the City. The City’s fire prevention fees had not been comprehensively reviewed in approximately 20 years.

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Chief Management Analyst at Los Angeles City Planning
You took the time to dive into the more technical and detailed aspects of a very unique subject area, kept the project moving, and were in constant communication with us as the client. Would love to work with you again on any project.
City Manager at City of Wildomar
Congratulations to everyone. You all did Herculean efforts in these past few months to seriously re-vamp, update and prepare a lasting document. I am pleased and proud of all your efforts.