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Letter: Developer impact fees can’t pay for water treatment plant

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Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:00 am

This letter is in response to the letter “Will new development really pay back ratepayers for water treatment plant?” on March 19 by Roy Bitz.

How will new development fees reimburse ratepayers?

“According to the Public Works information pamphlet mailed to residents of the city: The proposed schedule of utility rate increase will not be used for infrastructure required to serve the demands presented by new development. The new development impact fee program requires new development to reimburse the city for past and future investments in water, wastewater, streets, police, fire and other infrastructure. In fact, if new development exceeds that forecast in the financial models, this could partially offset recommended inflationary increases.”

The preceding paragraph came from the Public Works pamphlet mailed to the residents of the city. This account is a complete fabrication. Are the citizens of Lodi expected to believe everything they see in print? A politician once said a person can say anything — it doesn’t make it so. His words were meant for an opponent, but those words apply equally well to governments.

Several months ago while council was in session, Walley Sandelin, Public Works Director, became agitated with questions about developer impact fees and blurted out that development has never paid their fair share and probably never will.

The city is paying millions in interest each year for bond financing of the wastewater treatment plant expansion — paid for with ratepayer funds. The purpose for the expansion was to service new development. Shouldn’t developer impact fees be paying the interest on these bonds? But then how can they, when the council reduced developer impact fees 60 percent for seven years?

John Slaughterback

Lodi

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