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Developer Fee Talks Aim For Deadline Deal
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The Riverbank delegation meeting with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Board of Directors, included an engineer, an attorney and City Manager Sean Scully, center, gathered on Thursday, May 2, at the Riverbank Fire Hall for a round table discussion aimed at coming to an agreement on the amount of developer fees to be collected in the soon to be annexed Crossroads West. Ric McGinnis/The News

While the City of Riverbank and the directors of the board of the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District continue to meet, the clock also continues to tick down toward a self-imposed deadline for agreement on developer fees.

The SCFPD board threatened to sue the city back in the middle of April, on the day of the deadline for the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Crossroads West project, to be submitted to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for approval of the annexation.

At the last minute, and on a Friday when city hall offices were closed, lawyers for the two groups agreed to a postponement of the deadline, to May 12. The two sides met on Thursday, May 2, for the first of what may be several roundtable workshops aimed at bridging the gap between what the city thinks the fire fees should be and that of the SCFPD.

The pair held a study session prior to its special meeting last week. The meeting began at 5 p.m. with representatives of the Crossroads West developers, the city attorney’s office, architects, land owners and the fire district board in attendance.

The board didn’t have a quorum present when the workshop began, but it was not necessary since it was not a meeting where official action would be taken. Director Michelle Guzman, representing Riverbank, and President Susan Zanker, an at-large representative, were present, with Steve Green arriving later, in time for the official special meeting that was to start at 6 p.m.

Board members Dave Woods, Vice President from Empire, and Greg Bernardi, at-large director, were both absent.

The differing issue reportedly is the gap between amounts in the city’s studies and those of the fire district. The city maintains that the proposed service area would generate $7.5 million in capital fees, including special assessment fees and ongoing property taxes.

As stated in the workshop, the fire district maintains that the cost of purchasing property, building a 5,000 square-foot fire station, equipping it and then staffing it would be much higher.

“The meeting was positive overall,” said Riverbank City Manager Sean Scully. “A compromise has not been reached yet but there was a substantial amount of good conversation regarding fees and Fire District needs relating to infrastructure (new station and equipment. We hope to solidify more details on any potential agreement at the next meeting.”

The meeting ended with setting of another session this Thursday, May 9 for a workshop, with both sides expected to hone down their figures.