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City of Ripon, fire district waiving fees?
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The Ripon Consolidated Fire District may be separate from that of the City of Ripon in terms of public agencies.

But a plan may soon be in place in which the two mirror each other in policy.

Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt and Councilman Dean Uecker recently met with fire officials to discuss the city ordinance on development impact fees.

“I felt it was a successful meeting,” Nutt said at last week’s Ripon City Council meeting.

The fire district recently broke ground on the $1.82 million substation northeast of town and has been seeking a waiver from the city on the $77,700 in Development Impact Fees, covering local facilities (water, parks, library, etc.), building and engineering (building permit, building plan checks and engineering), and other fees (school, fire, county facilities and habitant mitigation).

Fire Chief Dennis Bitters recently pointed out that construction for the 6,000-square-foot facility at River Road and West Road is “an infrastructure rather than a growth project for the city.”

Established in 1921, the fire district was formed long before the city was incorporated.

When the current city hall was under construction in 2006, Bitters gladly waived similar-type fees to the City of Ripon.

City officials, meanwhile, are working on an amendment to the impact fee ordinance.

“We will be presenting an amended ordinance or policy for both the City and fire district that mirror each other,” said Nutt.

He added: “The document will go before both bodies for recommendation.”

Nutt indicated that the amended policy will be reviewed by legal counsel from both agencies along with Bitters and City Administrator Kevin Werner.

“This will be a specific agreement that will exempt each other from fees paid to each other,” he said.

According to Nutt, there are certain fees that neither agency can avoid, including the county facility fees, habitat fees and school fees.

The fire substation, once completed, will have living quarters, apparatus bays, meeting room and facilities for a police substation.

Plans for this project have been in the works for over two years.