Council ups money for parks, will study traffic
The fees that Grass Valley charges to people building a new building will go up, but not as much as had been projected by a draft fee proposal.
After meeting for hours with business people, people concerned about traffic and finance specialists, Grass Valley City Council members voted unanimously late Tuesday to continue studying the fees they charge to pay for road improvement and traffic impact.
The city’s draft proposal for fee increases had some types of new buildings paying increases of as much as 769 percent that would go toward local road projects.
Instead, people will continue to meet through at least mid-June to work out a more realistic fee structure.
“We’re in agreement that the fees need to go up and that we’re not collecting enough,” said Barbara Bashall, executive director of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association. She urged council members “to do a traffic model and come up with a good basis for a traffic mitigation fee program.”
Part of the work will be to look at the road projects and traffic mitigations that had been proposed originally, and weed out those projects that either cannot be fully funded or which are lower in priority.
That would lead to a smaller fee increase than originally proposed.
City staff, fee specialists and members of the public also will continue to work on fees for water, drainage and sewage, after another 5-0 vote Tuesday. That work is expected to continue through at least the end of May, according to the schedule worked out by city finance director Carol Fish.
In related matters, council members also approved higher fees to pay for the increased burden on government facilities caused by growth.
However, at the suggestion of Councilman Mark Johnson, they also agreed to remove from the fee calculations $1.2 million earmarked to expand City Hall.
The new construction is not included in the building plan, Johnson pointed out.
That change will bring down another element in the overall fee structure.
In another vote, council members approved fee increases to acquire more park land. However, Mayor Gerard Tassone said the city needs to find ways to shift some costs of parks maintenance.
“The majority of impact (on parks) is coming from outside the city. The city’s picking up most of the tab,” Tassone said. “How do you establish the fair share?”
The fees are going up as a part of the city’s effort to charge what it really costs to improve and maintain roads, traffic conditions, parks, public safety and infrastructure for buildings and city utilities.
Council had previously approved a new fee structure to pay for police, fire and animal control services. They went into effect in December.
To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4231.
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