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City development fees records first increase in three years

POSTED November 30, 2012 8:25 p.m.

After three straight years of decline, the City of Turlock’s Capital Facility Fees posted revenue growth last year for the first time since 2007-08.

Turlock posted $1.3 million in CFF revenues in 2011-12, a 16 percent improvement from fiscal year 2010-11 and the highest such figure since 2007-08.

“The trend does show that, maybe, we are finally coming out of this recession,” said City Engineer Mike Pitcock.

Revenues still greatly lagged the last boom year, 2006-2007, when Turlock recorded $4.8 million in CFF income.

CFFs are assessed on new development, funding infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate the growth. The fees pay for roads, police stations, fire stations, and even parks and bike paths.

“If we lowball our CFF fees, then we’re not going to have enough money to do things,” said Councilwoman Mary Jackson.

Among the major expenditures facing Turlock in the coming years is a new interchange at Highway 99 and Fulkerth Road. The improvement would be akin to when the Monte Vista Avenue interchange was expanded and widened.

But that work would require Turlock to pay an $8 million to $10 million “match” to state transportation grants. The City currently has just $2.8 million in its CFF roadways fund.

Should CFF income not expand greatly before the state approves a Fulkerth interchange modernization, Turlock could turn to the Stanislaus County Council of Governments — the local transportation board —in search of additional matching funds.

Turlock charges about $9,900 in CFFs on a new, single-family home. School districts, the county, and master plan developers add in their own CFFs, tallying between $35,000 and $40,000

The city faces a challenge as some businesses look to build in unincorporated Stanislaus County, right outside of the City of Turlock, to avoid the city’s portion of CFF fees. Turlock is still working with the county to find an equitable solution to that dispute.

“We’re trying to even the playing field with the county,” Jackson said.

 

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:

·         Received the 2011-2012 Safety Award from the Central San Joaquin Valley Risk Management Authority. The award recognizes cities for taking a proactive approach to safety; Turlock has won the award for the past two years.

·         Issued a proclamation in honor of the 2012 California State University, Stanislaus Men’s Soccer Team. The team finished first in their league this year, set a new school record with a 12-5-3 school record, and qualified for the NCAA championships for the first time ever as a Division 2 program.

·         Asked staff to hear from Turlock Together at the next council meeting. Turlock Together is a coalition of Turlock non-profits, which is collecting toys and food for needy families.

·         Heard a request from Councilwoman Amy Bublak to consider holding councilmeetings in different locations across town as outreach, such as Covenant Village. Councilman Forrest White also requested a meeting be held at the Public Safety Facility to commemorate its opening.
As the request was not on the agenda, no action was taken. The council will discuss the item further at a future council meeting.

·         Spoke with labor negotiators representing the Turlock Associated Police Officers in closed session.

·         Completed the process to amend Turlock Municipal Code regarding prohibited wastewater discharges, and payment for those discharges.
A November 2011 Regional Water Quality Control Board report found that Turlock must amend its industrial pretreatment compliance program, clarifying that businesses with the proper permit may discharge wastewater with a greater pH range than the 5.5-8.5 range previously in the Municipal Code. The city previously allowed discharges outside that range, as noted on city permits, but code does not reflect the practice.
The penalty charge for delinquent payments will rise from $10 to $25 for sewer only customers. That delinquent payment fee was increased for water customers in August 2011, but “sewer only” customers, who are connected to the city wastewater system but own a private water well, were mistakenly excluded from the fee increase at the time.

The Turlock City Council preliminarily approved the ordinance at their Nov. 13 meeting.

·         Completed the process to approve an amendment to the General Plan Land Use Diagram, allowing Yosemite Farm Credit to expand its development at the corner of W. Monte Vista Ave. and Dels Lane.
The approximately two-acre site is currently zoned Medium Density Residential, but Yosemite Farm Credit received approval to construct three office buildings on the site in 1989. To date, only two buildings have been constructed, and the 1989 approval for a third building has long since expired.
The new proposal will see Yosemite Farm Credit build a 15,000 square foot administration office building, and 4,000 square foot addition to an existing bank building.

The project was recommended to the Turlock City Council by a 6-0 vote of the Turlock Planning Commission on Oct. 4. The land use diagram amendment was preliminarily approved by council at their Nov. 13 meeting.

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