County administrator Jean Rousseau says all eight cities have now agreed to a memorandum of understanding laying how the new county 2030 General Plan will work with cities on impact fees and revenue sharing issues.
“I got a call from Porterville City Manager John Lollis who said his council voted in closed session this week to accept our final offer.”
Porterville was the last of the Tulare County cities to sign on to the county’s proposal. A lawsuit over the issue had been filed.
“This settles a dispute that goes back 5 years. It’s just huge.” Still pending before the General Plan can be implemented is a second suit with the Sierra Club.”We have not made as much progress on this one.”
In a second breakthrough – Rousseau says the county is preparing to refund $4.2 million to the 8 cities settling another lawsuit over how the county collected property taxes since 2006. The settlement will mean Visalia gets around $1.9 million back and Porterville would be refunded around $700,000.
Salomon says the funds will be used to backfill Visalia’s lagging emergency reserves to its historical $5 million level, he hopes by June 2014.
Rousseau adds “We are offering each city cash by June 30” at a meeting with all city managers this week.
At issue in the General Plan suit filed by Porterville last year is the fact the county plan calls for cities to help collect impact fees the county wants to charge to help their revenue stream. Another issue has been whether the county would mandate city standards in development in county land within a city’s urban development boundary. Cities have complained about lax standards approved in the past by the county that when land is annexed cost the cities lots to upgrade. The county has agreed to do this.