Penn Valley Union Elementary School District adopts developer fee increase |

Penn Valley Union Elementary School District adopts developer fee increase

The Penn Valley Union Elementary School District board of trustees unanimously voted to adopt a maximum developer fee increase Tuesday, which will increase school facilities fees for local contractors and developers.

“We reviewed a copy of the level one developer fee study and it’s quite extensive,” board president Carolyn Bronson said. “I think we need to maintain our facilities and have the opportunity to maintain those facilities if we needed to. I for one have reviewed this thoroughly and feel it’s a needed piece for our district in the future.”

The initiative, which was tabled two weeks ago by the Nevada Joint Union High School District, and adopted by Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Pleasant Ridge Union school districts, will increase fees on residential projects within each individual district through a fee of $3.36 per square foot, an increase of more than 35 cents over the current fee. Commercial and industrial development projects will increase by 7 cents, with a fee in the amount of 54 cents per square foot.

“From my understanding in talking with the high school’s district superintendent, the reason it wasn’t voted on last month by the high school board was because the person who came to do the study was unable to make it to the meeting due to the fire,” District Superintendent Angela Haick said Tuesday. “So it was just an item that needed to be tabled.”

The developer fee was established by the California Legislature in 1986 to authorize school districts to levy school impact fees on residential and commercial or industrial development for the purpose of funding construction or reconstruction of school facilities.

The legislation was established to provide adequate school facilities for the student population increases that new developments generate. Local school districts have not voted to increase the fees since 2008.

Board member Tina Skrukrud admitted that she was on the board of the Nevada County Contractor’s Association, a local group which opposes the school developer fee increase, but assured trustees Tuesday that it would not sway her vote.

“When I built my house 15 years ago, you could build a house a lot cheaper than you can buy it. Today you can’t do that,” Skrukrud said. “We can table the (resolution) but it’s going to cost our district money.”

During a public forum, district resident and Penn Valley Union Elementary School District board candidate Ann Driver said she had read letters sent by the local contractor’s association and said the board should take their concerns into consideration.

“I understand that we’re grasping at money wherever we can get it,” Driver said. “But they make a point that for young families it’s going to increase the cost of housing further, and it’s going to make more problems for young families to live in this area.”

Haick, though, said that adopting the resolution is a fiscal matter for the district.

“It’s just a part of being fiscally prudent to make those adjustments,” Haick said. “We understand the spot contractors are being put in, but we need to focus on our students and their needs.”

For more information, call the district at 530-432-7311.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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