Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/29/2011 10:37:42 PM PST

San Bernardino is among the state’s most costly cities to do business in, according to a new survey examining municipalities’ taxes and fees.

Claremont McKenna College’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government and Kosmont Cos. produced the survey.

Among all California cities, analysts said, the cost of doing business in San Bernardino is comparable to running a company in costly places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

Elected officials and business leaders in San Bernardino and other cities, however, questioned the survey’s findings.

“I think we strive to be business friendly, but some of our policies are so ingrained and entrenched that it takes longer to right that battleship,” Councilwoman Wendy McCammack said.

“Over time, we’ve gotten friendlier, but not as friendly as I would like,” she continued.

Kosmont Cos. is a Los Angeles- based real estate advisory firm. Company CEO Larry Kosmont said he and others involved in the report do not make specific policy recommendations for cities.

“The survey is meant to provide a level playing field so cities can see how competitive they are,” he said, adding that business owners can use the data to determine which places are more affordable.

The report ranked cities according to which had the most or fewest

government-imposed costs, but did not estimate how much a business owner in a given place may spend on taxes and fees.

Analysts ranked San Bernardino as an expensive city because of its relatively high business license fees and 8 percent utility users tax, Kosmont said.

McCammack, who also owns a print shop, countered that San Bernardino business owners would likely pay lower property taxes than their counterparts in cities with more expensive real estate.

In her opinion, that may even costs out. She also pointed out that San Bernardino has halved its development-impact fees.

San Bernardino businessman Larry Quiel of Quiel Bros. Signs, said the chief difficulty for San Bernardino business owners has not necessarily been fees and taxes, but a city bureaucracy that he said is beginning to shake a reputation for sluggishness.

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