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City council drops developer fees
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The cost of building new homes, commercial and industrial buildings in Ceres got cheaper Monday when the City Council lowered the schedule of Public Facility Fees (PFF). City officials estimated that it will need less money from developers because land costs for such infrastructure needs as parks and building lots has dropped from $200,000 to $50,000 per acre.

City councilmen recently asked staff to see if fees could be lowered to spur development in this sluggish economy. The city borrowed the land cost estimates factored in the county's developer fee schedule.

Monday's action lowers the PFF on a residential home from $25,298 to $20,520, a savings of $4,778 per home.

The fee for new office space drops 21.8 percent, from $10,339 per 1,000 square feet to $8,089.

The commercial fee for new commercial buildings drops from $13,939 per 1,000 square feet to $11,026.

Likewise, industrial fees drop from $7,632 to $5,919 per 1,000 square feet.

The fees are also lower since the city decided not to collect fees for two transportation projects - the Faith Home bridge and phase II of the Service/Mitchell interchange. The city believes those projects won't be built until well past the 20-year scope covered in the fee schedule.

City Engineer Glenn Gephardt said the drop in law costs is "unprecedented" but said the city needs to revisit the basis for the fees once they recover.

Vice Mayor Ken Lane said he hopes the lower fees "would stimulate building." "This is a great first step and I'm excited to see it," said Lane.

Councilman Chris Vierra agreed, saying the city is being fiscally responsible for being quick to lower fees and reducing the burden on development when it's warranted.