Turlock to Subsidize $135,000 in Developer Fees with Tax Dollars; City Council Coverage

David Fransen

The City of Turlock will subsidize building fees in hopes of attracting more development to the city.

The new policy, which will offer developers a 25 percent discount from the city's true cost to process permits, follows a split, 3-2 vote of council on Tuesday.

“In essence, it's a $135,000 subsidy that would be given to the building permit process,” City Manager Roy Wasden said.

The subsidy will be paid from Turlock's General Fund – the $13 million pot of tax dollars collected by the City of Turlock. The building fees will be adjusted annually, based on the consumer price index.

The fee table, prepared by an outside consultant, reflects the true cost to process more than 200 different construction scenarios – less the 25 percent discount. The City Manager will have the authority to apportion fees in off-table instances, like when a resident wants to replace siding on just one side of a home rather than the entire building.

“If we were to use the table, it wouldn't work,” said Turlock Chief Building Official Eric Picciano. “We'd have an inequitable fee.”

In addition to the new fee structure, developers will now pay fees in a different manner. A less-onerous pre-payment process will incorporate efficiencies from processing multiple permits related to the same development.

Approval of the new fees preceded the Tuesday adoption of the 2013-2014 Turlock Budget, which includes $1.4 million in deficit spending. The budget saw the reduction of four police officer and three firefighter positions, though the budget for overtime was increased in an attempt to mitigate the loss of public safety personnel.

Councilman Steven Nascimento voted against the building fee subsidy, arguing the money should be spent on items he considers more important like public safety.

“I think that's not an appropriate use of resources,” Nascimento said. “I would urge the council to use that $135,000 to support other services.”

Councilman Forrest White echoed Nascimento's beliefs.

But the reminder of councilmembers, headed by Councilwoman Amy Bublak felt the lower building fees would actually generate more revenue for Turlock in the long run. New development would bring new businesses, residents, and jobs to Turlock, ultimately generating the tax revenues needed to balance the city's budget, she said.

“You're actually going to yield far more in the far end, and not that far,” Bublak said. “… My philosophy is we have to stimulate the growth to pay for everyone to work in this city.”

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:
• Approved the purchase of two parcels at 1129 N. Olive Ave. for $125,000, plus half of closing costs. The parcels will be used to widen the road.
• Approved final maps for Lander Crossing, a new shopping center consisting of six commercial lots west of Lander Ave. The lots are located behind the existing Denny's, Jack in the Box, and Arco, and adjacent to Highway 99.
• Approved a $54,813 study as part of a plan to sell treated wastewater to water-starved farmers on the west side of Stanislaus County.
The plan would see Turlock continue to discharge treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. The Patterson Irrigation District would then pump a like amount of water from the river into the Delta Mendota Canal, which would convey the water to the Del Puerto Water District.
• Sold a parcel located at 821 N. Broadway to the Turlock Irrigation District for $27,500.
The City of Turlock purchased the parcel from the district for $1 in the 1930s. In the 1990s, the district developed the parcel into a TID parking lot – without the city's knowledge.
As both parties only recently realized the parcel had been developed by TID without the district owning it, the city now sold the parcel to TID.
• Heard a monthly update on capital projects and building activity.
• Issued two proclamations in honor of the retirements of Turlock Fire Captain Manuel Drumonde, and Turlock Water Quality Control Division Manager John “Steve” Wilson.
• Authorized the City Manager to sign letters in support of or in opposition to 14 bills currently in the state legislature.
• In closed session, conferenced with labor negotiators from all employee unions.

Comments 7

  1. Rsanden says:

    well I support having new businesses come to Turlock because that creates jobs I do not see where the general fund should be used to promote such businesses.
    it would be more beneficial to allow credits to these builders in other words they wouldn’t pay as much in fees to build and the businesses would still come as would jobs. We need to give incentives not charge more costs, add taxes or fees or waste General Funds that the city still needs for other items like police firefighters and schools not to mention roads
    with the jobs

  2. Cash Flow Participant says:

    Why worry about $400,000 additional monies added to the budget or a $135,00 reprieve on developer fees.. Just ask City of Turlock employees to pay more in concessions and contributions.. It’s easy pickings !!

    • Look at the budget says:

      The past 4 years of budgets are available on Turlock’s website. http://www.Turlock.ca.us Look at where the money is going. The City Manager’s budget has gone up by hundreds of thousands, most likely due to him hiring two assistants, paying one of them over $100k a year (the other is on loan from the police department). Take a look at the City Council’s budget, it has gone up by over $100k. Several years ago Council decided that it was not fair for them to take medical benefits, during a public vote they voted that Council would no longer receive medical benefits and that the savings would be deferred to the Recreation Department to keep the City Pools open. Shortly after, in a secret meeting they changed their mind and took their medical benefits back. Why was this not publicized?
      How can the city transfer $5 million dollars of over-funded Employee Benefits money back into the general fund and then say that employee benefits are destroying the budget?

      Why hasn’t TCN done an expose’ on these new expenditures?

      • Guest says:

        It’s called Hocus Pocus Smoke and Mirrors and it’s the man behind the curtain you best be aware of !! And the answer to your question why TCN doesn’t expose the new expenditures is because they fear retaliation from the Great Oz and the loss of their comfortable existence.

  3. s says:

    What happened to the article that was posted today that this is costing the city $260,000.00, it disappeared from your front page??

  4. On the Budget says:

    It’s hard to believe Shorty Nascimento voted against business developers, actually I had to re-read the story. Is that really true? Is he going against the FF where his bro works next? That guy is bought and sold by big developers/big business. Why is Bublak still on the council, isn’t she a felon?

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