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Council would like to wave Ripon Fire fees
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The Ripon Consolidated Fire District recently broke ground on a new fire station on the corner of River Road and North Ripon Road.

Last week, Fire Chief Dennis Bitters approached the Ripon City Council requesting waivers of all development fees, if possible, associated with the project.

“The basic thought is that we’re trading tax dollars for tax dollars,” he said at the meeting held in the Council Chambers.

Elected leaders would like to accommodate that request but not without having staff first look at each of the impact fees.

They voted unanimous, 5-0.

The City of Ripon, under the fee program, has the authority as set forth by Title 17 of the Municipal Code “to impose fees to defray the cost of providing infrastructure and public facilities to developing properties,” said Bitters in his report to the Council.

The City charges impact fees for the development of projects. The figures for these projects are calculated by staff and collected by the City despite some of those fees being passed on to other jurisdictions.

Ripon AB1600, for example, are impact fees for water, sewer, and parks, to name a few.

The Building and Engineering Fees are set to reimburse the City for staff time involving those handling the plan reviews and on-site inspections.

Other development impact fees are set to outside jurisdiction and collected by Ripon, namely, habitat fees, county facility fees, and regional transportation improvement fees.

“The project was more than we thought but we can handle it,” said Bitters, who indicated that 8 percent of the work is done thus far and should be completed according to the 270-day time table or about nine months.

Thus far, the Fire District received waiver from Ripon Unified on the school fees.

“No one gets out of the habitat fees,” he said.

Council supports the project.

“The fire department is part of the city,” Councilman Dean Uecker said. “The fire department has worked with us before under the same scenario.”

Added Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt: “They’re providing a service to our community – this (new fire station) is an improvement and investment to the city.”

The fire district spent the past two years planning for the new station at 1705 N. Ripon Road in the Cornerstone subdivision. The facility, once completed, will include living quarters, apparatus bays, a meeting room and facilities for a police substation.

“We are striving to bring the project to completion on time and within budget,” Bitters said in a letter to the Council. “To do this, we are exploring every opportunity to save taxpayer dollars where possible.”