The Pleasanton City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday night to explore an increase in development user fees to bring them into alignment with a General Plan policy of self-sustainment for such fees.
Emily Wagner, formerly finance director who is now handling special projects for the city, told the council the General Plan mandates that building and development permit fees should cover the costs of plan review, engineering associated with site development, fire prevention, inspections and other costs incurred in the building development process.
Most California cities have been collecting full 100% cost recovery for development related services, she said. Pleasanton, which deferred an increase in to allow time for the economy to recover, has collected just 48% of such fees annually since the 1980's.
"With the upswing in the economy, now is a good time to start a discussion that will align the development fee schedule with City policies," City Manager Nelson Fialho said. "For decades the City has subsidized a balance on development permit costs. We feel that the time is right to make this necessary adjustment."
Wagner proposed boosting Pleasanton's cost recovery rate to 79%. That would translate to approximately $2.7 million annually in additional fee revenues that would reduce the city's subsidy of such funds. That money could be use for needed projects, such as a new library, parks, and youth and senior programs.
Wagner's suggested user fee increases would start Jan. 1, 2017 would continue to be increased gradually until the goal of 100% cost recovery is achieved, putting Pleasanton in par with Livermore and most other Tri-Valley cities.
In its favorable decision Tuesday, the council didn't vote to change the fee structure, but instead gave Fiahlo, Wagner and others on the city staff to discuss the plan with the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the city's Economic Vitality Committee and developers.
Feedback from those groups will then be taken before the council again in several months for a second look and possible implementation.