When it comes to policy, the City of Ripon and the Ripon Consolidated Fire District may soon have one in place that mirrors itself.
City Council last week approved an amendment in which “project (or projects) shall be exempt from all Ripon Consolidated Fire District development impact fees and inspection fees, except where inspections are performed by a third party inspector.”
The vote tally was 4-1, with Councilman Leo Zuber casting the lone “no” vote.
Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt noted that the fire district agreed to adopt a similar fee reduction or waiver policy. “It’s clean, it’s simple and, one way or another, it’ll be easy for both entities to understand,” he said.
Nutt, Councilman Dean Uecker and City Attorney Tom Terpstra recently met with fire officials on Development Impact Fees.
The fire district, which is separate from the City, is building a $1.82 million substation on the northeast section of town and had requested the fee waiver for local facilities (water, parks, library, etc.), building and engineering (building permits, building plan checks and engineering) and other fees (school, fire, county facilities and habitant mitigation).
The total came out to over $77,000 in impact fees.
Just to back track, fire Chief Dennis Bitters took it upon himself to gladly waive similar-type fees to the City during construction of Ripon City Hall in 2006.
The fire district is the process of building a 6,000=square-foot facility at River Road and West Road as an “infrastructure rather than a growth project for the city,” Bitters recently said.
Once completed, the fire station will have living quarters, apparatus bays, a meeting room and a space to someday accommodate a police substation.
Zuber, meanwhile, supported the initial amendment in with the City would grant fee waivers on a case-by-case basis. “I think this one is better overall because it gives us flexibility,” he said.
Councilman Jake Parks had agreed that the case-by-case option appeared better because “it keeps our options open” and better on the long term.
He and Mayor Chuck Winn voted for the second option that came about from the two-by-two meeting held on March 18.
It was here that both parties agreed that the city and fire district would exempt each other from development impact and inspection fees.
Terpstra said that, on the legal side, both policies were OK.
“I have no preference, either way,” he said. “I don’t think staff has a problem either.”
The ordinance will come back to Council at an upcoming meeting for a first reading and introduction.