With Reserves Down 50%, FilmLA Raising Permit Fees In Hopes Of Returning To Pre-Pandemic Financial Footing By 2029

FilmLA is raising prices on a wide range of permit fees in order to return its finances to pre-pandemic levels – eight years from now. The new rates, which are going up by about 13-15%, will take effect on May 1. It’s the first time fees will have increased since July 2019.

The agency was hit hard by the loss of income from application and permit fees generated by on-location filming in and around Los Angeles. “Over an eight year period,” FilmLA said, “the fee increase is projected to restore FilmLA to a financial position similar to its status at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

FilmLA president Paul Audley said that the fee hikes are expected to generate about $6 million by 2029 – the amount of reserves the permit agency has lost during the pandemic. “In 2020, revenue was down 50%,” Audley said. “We went a full quarter with no revenue at all. It came back, but at such a low level that we were losing money every month. More than $6 million in reserves were lost during the pandemic. Those have to be built back up so that we can continue to sustain and provide service to the industry.”

The decision to increase fees, FilmLA said, “was made in consultation with our government clients and the FilmLA board of directors, which is comprised of film industry and community representatives. It follows a thorough analysis of current program and personnel expenses, and the impact of Covid-19 on our financial reserves and revenue from permit operations.”

10 different fees will be rising. Permit application fees, for up to 10 locations, will be going up from $699 to $795; notification fees will rise from $173 to $198; monitor fees will be going up from $32.50 an hour to $37, and even student permit fees will be going up.

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