Fight over development fees in Tulare Co.

FRESNO, Calif.

Build in the city and you have to include new sidewalks, gutters, sewer hook-up and more but it also costs more, thousands of dollars in impact fees. Building a home on county property means you don't get the new sidewalks and gutters but it also means no impact fees.

Until Tuesday, the Tulare County Supervisors voted to start charging thousands of dollars in fees for new development not only on county land, but on city projects, too. It all comes down to the county needing more money to fund any future new construction projects.

"The county needs revenue. We're not getting it from sales tax which the government is run on so we have to find a way to raise that revenue and that's the impact fees," Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida said.

Ishida says the county will eventually have to build a brand new jail to replace the current one, which is 60 years old. He says new projects like the jail will be tough to fund when the county is constantly dealing with budget deficits.

Ishida also says new census numbers show 95-percent of the county's growth is in its incorporated cities, adding another reason the county should get money from new city projects. "That's services we provide for the whole county but we cant fund those services on the 5% of new growth that's coming in the county."

Incorporated cities in Tulare County agree that the county should charge fees for building new sidewalks, gutters and more, but tacking on extra fees to city projects isn't fair. It would mean building in the county would be cheaper than building in a city.

"Right now the way it exists there's incentive to build outside the city," Pete McCracken said.

Supervisors say the fees would likely tack on between $6 and $8,000 thousand to projects.

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