Specifically the ordinance would allow staff to charge developers hourly rates for time spent by staff including the city manager and department managers in meetings used to discuss projects. It also called for a tiered system of deposits of up to $100,000 for larger projects depending on the size of the project and would eliminate application fees on the larger projects.
Some planning commissioners, however, felt that charging developers hourly rates for staff members that are already paid by tax dollars as unfair.
Commissioner David Applegate called the charge double dipping or charging two different entities for city staff.
“I don’t follow the city’s logic,” he said. “The city has a certain staffing level one way or the other.”
Applegate said he believed the staff members were already paid for but had no problem charging a deposit to bring in consultants to help staff if they need it.
Commissioner Eric Bendix agreed.
“Add additional staff if you need to, but it does seem like you’re double dipping.”
Deputy City Attorney Doug White said the current process of charging strictly application fees was a net loss for the city in terms of paying for staff time.
Patterson resident and landowner Ken Buehner said the money charged for staff time should be returned to taxpayers.
“(Staff) is already on the payroll anyway,” he said. “Sounds like a way to generate revenue for the city.”
Ultimately Applegate suggested that the city consider changing the size of its application fees for projects and recommended on a 5-0 vote to require a deposit for the city to hire consultants on projects larger than 20 acres or buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. The commissioners specifically recommended not charging for city staff time spent on projects.
City staff members are meeting with developers at City Hall in the council chambers Wednesday, Dec. 11 to discuss the application and deposit fee ordinance process with developers.