UPDATE: Temcula city council unanimously approved the graffiti restitution rates during its Nov. 13 meeting. There was no council discussion on the agenda item.
The cost of getting caught tagging in Temecula may soon rise.
Temecula city council is set to vote Tuesday on setting restitution rates associated with graffiti removal costs, according to the meeting agenda.
The city's public works department will ask council members to pass a resolution establishing the rates during a regular council meeting set to begin at 7 p.m. at Temecula Civic Center.
"Whenever graffiti has been removed from public or private property at the expense of the city, each person who placed any of the graffiti, and the custodial parents or guardians of any minor who placed any of the graffiti [...] shall be legally responsible to reimburse the city," the city's municipal code states.
Public works staff recently completed a study into the cost of employee time, materials and equipment when it comes to removing graffiti.
Staff is proposing a minimum restitution rate of $213.38 to be paid by those convicted of graffiti, or by private property owners in the event the markings are removed by city staff.
The minimum rate would apply to areas of 50 square feet or less, according to the drafted resolution. For areas larger than 50 square feet, the city would charge $4.68 for each additional square foot. If extra equipment is required, such as a boom pressure washer, the amount above 50 square feet would increase to $6.29.
"This is especially important when the city is seeking restitution as a condition of probation for someone found guilty of writing graffiti, or when the city seeks reimbursement for the removal of graffiti from private property," wrote public works staff.
The fees were calculated based on current going rates, but the resolution states the city would be able to adjust them as cost impacts fluctuate.
If the city uses a contractor to remove graffiti, it would be entitled to a 15 percent administrative fee based on the cost of the service.
According to the city's municipal code, the city is authorized to remove graffiti from private property if it can be viewed from a public right-of-way. In that instance, the city would need to obtain written consent of the property owner, including a release and waiver.
"The owner shall be charged only for the actual cost incurred by the city to remove the graffiti," the city states.
Property owners may also choose to remove it themselves or pay to have it removed.
A pdf of the proposed fees is attached to this article.