The Ceres City Council took action to increase Fire Prevention User fees, which were last updated in 2011.
In 2021 the city of Ceres contracted with the city of Modesto to provide firefighting services so the fire inspections and fire related aspects of building permit plan reviews are Modesto Fire Department employees.
The new fee schedule coincides with the fee schedule adopted by the Modesto Fire Department. Those fees were based on an analysis of the true cost of staff time as well as an annual cost of living increases.
According to Christopher Hoem, Ceres’ director of Community Development, the city of Ceres will keep the fees since its contract with Modesto is a fixed annual fee and not based on the volume of fire services.
“Local contractors are familiar with Modesto’s fees and they’re used to them,” said Hoem, “so by us having the same fees it’s more uniform and whether someone is building a house or a restaurant in Modesto or in Ceres, at least the fire fees would be the same.”
A sample of the fees include $168 for a site plan review and a fire alarm system test and inspection $190 per plan.
“There will be a revenue increase. We don’t know exactly how much that’s going to be yet though and we’ll be tracking that.”
Alvaro Franco protested the fee adjustment.
Hoem replied that without increasing the fees, city taxpayers would essentially be “subsidizing development as it occurs.”
The adjustment was approved in a 4-1 vote of the council with Councilman Daniel Martinez casting the lone “no” vote.