Lemoore City Council seeks additional time to study impact fee proposal on the table

Unable to come to any consensus regarding Master Use Fees and Development Impact Fees, Lemoore councilmembers instead opted to send the issue to the next city council study session, so that they may spend additional time studying the issue.

At stake is whether such fees are a necessary evil or simply a burden on commerce.

Councilmembers recently adopted a set of goals and objectives that spelled out a policy or goal that depends less on fees and more on creating a “business friendly” environment that reduces city fees imposed on new business developments.

The city annually reviews the Master Use Fee and Development Impact fees and normally recommends indexing the fees by some type of cost index to ensure the fees continue to be sufficient for the purpose they were designed.

Master User Fees are payments made by an individual for a service that primarily benefits the individual, stated J.P. Prichard, the city’s administrative analyst, in a report the council debated Tuesday night. “Public agencies impose a user fee for a government service when the individual’s decision to use the service is voluntary, and the fee charged to the individual user is reasonably related to the level of service rendered and the cost of providing that service,” stated Pritchard.

Originally adopted in 1992 Master User Fees have been updated over the years as services have changed. The last comprehensive study was done in 2004, and was the basis for all inflationary indexing as well as minor fee modifications, for the last 10 years, continued the report.

On the minds of some councilmembers was the effect that impact fees may have on “commerce” within the city of Lemoore. “Are we charging our private sector too much to do business here?” he asked.

Struggling with a solution, Councilmember Gordon suggested a closer look at the various fees. “Can we go through the list and see if they’re reasonably related to commerce?” he said.

A current list of Master User Fees may be found on the city’s website.

Development Impact Fees are fees that are collected exclusively from new development specifically to support the building of new infrastructure created by the higher demands caused by the new development.

Use of Development Impact Fees was previously supported by an adopted Council objective of making sure that “new development pays for itself”. However, the current Council has abandoned this objective with the February 2013 adoption of the new City Goals and Objectives.





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