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City Council Amends Land Development Fees
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Riverbank has adopted a resolution to amend fees paid to the Development Services Department for the services it provides in reviewing final maps, improvement plans and providing inspections.

"This is not an increase in fees," Department Director J.D. Hightower told Vice Mayor Richard O'Brien at the council's last meeting.

These fee changes will cover all costs incurred by the department for services rendered to developers. After plan checking and inspections have occurred, any excess funds will be returned to the developer.

"This resolution will let the public know what fees are due ahead of time. We're changing the system so as to give a clearer indication of the fees ahead and the services available," he said.

Hightower noted the last time these fees were amended was in March of 2005.

Mayor Virginia Madueno commented this should help the land developers since what the city wants now is infill development and building on lots within the city's borders that were previously left vacant.

In a separate subject handled under the consent calendar, council members balked on setting aside further funds for legal costs, of which it has lately incurred more than usual, and approved only part of a proposed appropriation.

Director of Finance Marisela Hernandez asked for an additional appropriation of $35,000 from general fund reserves to pay legal costs but the council approved moving only $8, 000 to cover costs already incurred.

At the start of the fiscal year, Hernandez said, the city appropriated $25,000 for specialized legal services such as personnel-related matters, bond issuances and redevelopment issues. Several matters had arisen that required the use of outside counsel and through February, these legal fees now awaiting payment amounted to $32,514.

Due to the continued need for outside counsel, the Finance Department estimated it needed to appropriate $35,000 more, Hernandez said. Appropriating only $8,000, the council said it will discuss the matter again when she returns with actual cost figures at a future meeting.