Fire Fee Standardization Moves Ahead in East Contra Costa County
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District will ask Brentwood, Oakley and Contra Costa County to ratify agreements in the coming weeks that will standardize and update fire facility development impact fees. As a result, the fire impact fee will increase in most instances in the region, depending on location, although rates will decline slightly for multi-family units built in Brentwood. The standardized rate for single-family homes will be $1,319 per unit, an increase of $365 per unit in Brentwood, $540 per unit in Oakley and $839 per unit in unincorporated East Contra Costa County. The Brentwood City Council is scheduled to vote on July 28, 2020, and Oakley is expected to act on Aug. 11, 2020. Fees would go into effect 60 days after adoption. Click HERE to download a fee comparison chart. The new rates are based on findings contained in the district’s fee study conducted by NBS and reviewed by the cities and the county. The funds will be used to build the three new fire stations that the district estimates it needs to adequately protect the projected new residents and businesses. Click HERE to download the fee study. The fee update is part of an overall district strategy to close severe and long-standing funding shortfalls. In addition to the fee update, the district is forming a community facilities district (CFD), where new developments will be required to pay toward the cost of staffing and operating the new fire stations. In order to address the existing fire service deficiencies, the ECCFPD is preparing to ask all landowners in the district to pay into a benefit assessment district that will fund the construction and operation of the three additional new stations needed to serve the existing population. Residents subject to the new CFD fees will receive credits toward payment of a future benefit assessment district charge adopted by voters. In a related matter, the ECCFPD last week released five years’ worth of previously uncompiled impact fee reports. The California Mitigation Fee Act (AB1600) requires agencies that collect fees to produce publicly available annual reports that detail how much was collected in fees and how the agency spent the money. But the ECCFPD had never prepared the mandated reports and was unaware of the requirement until BIA|Bay Area requested the documents more than a year ago. Combined with fire impact fees paid in Oakley and Brentwood, developers have paid $2.57 million toward East Contra Costa County fire service improvement in 2010 through 2019. The bulk of those fees were paid in Brentwood at $2.2 million followed by $373,550 in Oakley and $13,609 in the unincorporated area. For questions or comments, contact BIA’s Lisa Vorderbrueggen at email@example.com.