DNUSD Directors Consider Development Mitigation Fee Study; Approve the contract for the study on GO bonds | Wild rivers outpost
Jessica Cejnar / Today at 4:17 p.m.
DNUSD Directors Consider Development Mitigation Fee Study; Approve the contract for the study of GO bonds
As it launches an investigation into whether voters will support another requirement for school facilities, Unified School District Del Norte may also conduct a study to determine if its current mitigation fee for developers should change.
Intended to offset the cost of new classrooms or schools due to an increase in student enrollment, these fees were 27 cents per square foot for commercial development and $ 1.65 per square foot. for residential development in Del Norte County since fiscal year 1994-95. year, according to Jeff Napier, deputy superintendent of affairs at DNUSD.
Since large developments are rare in Del Norte County, previous school boards have chosen not to increase the mitigation fee, Napier said. A feasibility study project carried out in 2018 indicated that the current costs were justified. However, Napier said, this study was never completed.
A new study would determine whether developer mitigation fees should stay at 27 cents per square foot for commercial developments and $ 1.65 per square foot for residential development, according to Napier.
He also noted that the DNUSD was on the verge of repaying debt associated with the construction of Mary Peacock Elementary School and the installation of portable classrooms during a population boom in the 1990s. A new study , accompanied by a five-year plan, would outline what those development costs would be used for, Napier said.
“Developer mitigation fees can be used for the construction and reconstruction of school buildings, primarily classroom space is what they are looking for,” he told administrators on Thursday. “If we move forward on the possibility of increasing fees, we would need to do a study on fees. “
Napier proposed that the district enter into a professional services agreement with Jack Schreder & Associates, consultants in school facilities planning and capital financing, to conduct the study. This study would come back to the DNUSD board of directors, which would decide whether or not to increase the fees.
DNUSD received about $ 130,000 in revenue from developer mitigation fees this year – a year that has seen a lot of construction in Del Norte County, Napier said. In previous years, he said, revenue from developer mitigation fees has been as low as $ 20,000.
Although the 2018 feasibility study project indicated that the current mitigation costs for DNUSD developers were justified, administrators preferred to conduct a more comprehensive study on Thursday.
As DNUSD seeks funds for modernization projects and considers placing a second voter-approved bond on the 2022 ballot, one caveat to being eligible is to take advantage of all available funding sources, a said Don McArthur, representative of Trustee Area 1.
However, although the district’s facilities and maintenance manager has said his schools and facilities need around $ 47 million in repairs, the development mitigation fee can only be used to build new ones. new classrooms, said Superintendent Jeff Harris.
“The charge cannot be used for regular maintenance or routine repairs,” he said. “It can only be used for asbestos work if it is for construction or reconstruction. And it cannot be used for deferred maintenance.
Although Del Norte hasn’t increased its rates for more than two decades, other counties are steadily increasing developer mitigation fees, Harris said. In Shasta County, where the residential developer costs more than $ 4, the county education office sets the fee.
“They pushed for rate hikes (saying) if you didn’t choose to hike rates, the rate hike everyone else was realizing would go to other school districts and not yours,” Harris told the directors of DNUSD.
While some admins liked the idea of doing a developer mitigation fee feasibility study, Zone 3 admin representative Frank Magarino was skeptical. Noting that DNUSD is considering another bond measure, he was concerned about the impact of a study on developer mitigation fees on votes.
“It would just throw something in the pot at the moment that probably isn’t needed,” he said.
However, said Harris, directors could vote not to increase the fee even if the study indicated an increase was warranted.
Greenough said he is too fond of conducting a feasibility study as a potential way to persuade the state that DNUSD has tried to raise as much money as possible for modernization projects and that it needs economic help.
“Having this documentation could help us secure matching, even repayable, funding,” she said.
DNUSD approves study on GO bonds
The directors unanimously approved a contract between DNUSD and Isom Advisors to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether the public supports the placement of a general bond on a 2022 ballot.
By signing the contract, DNUSD agreed to pay Isom Advisors $ 12,500 for completing the survey and presenting the results to the board of directors, according to Harris. The district would pay an additional $ 93,000 to Isom Advisors for financial planning and financial advisory services if a bond measure were passed, Harris said.
That $ 93,000 includes $ 65,000 for financial advisory services for each series of bonds sold, according to Napier. The district is capped at $ 5 million for each bond it issues, Napier said.
• History of developer mitigation fees