Colusa, county reach agreement trading dispatch services for impact fee waiver

The City of Colusa will be saving some money on emergency dispatch fees over the next four years after striking a deal with the county.

The city council voted unanimously last week to approve a deal by which the city will save approximately 50 percent on fees they pay for dispatch services provided by the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office. In exchange, the city will be waiving 100 percent of the impact fees associated with constructing a new jail in the county.

Over the course of three meetings, city and county representatives negotiated the terms of the agreement in which the county also agreed to “work cooperatively with the City of Colusa in pursuing development of additional parking at the downtown and riverfront districts.”

Both parties are viewing the agreement as a win-win.

“I just want to state that I like it this way. We are working with the county and we’re getting a little extra revenue,” Mayor Tom Reische said.

Colusa County Administrator Wendy Tyler agreed, saying it was a great opportunity to work cooperatively together and provide some financial relief for both agencies.

“It provides the city with a flexibility of General Fund dollars that you don’t currently have, and it provides you that flexibility starting day one, rather than having to wait until we pull a building permit, which theoretically would be a couple of years down the line,” Tyler said.

According to a staff report to the council, city planner Bryan Stice estimated that the impact fees from the proposed jail project would amount to $405,367. The city will receive a reduction in dispatch fees that amounts to $228,744 over the next four years.

“So, you see immediate savings in your general fund with the reduced cost for dispatch services. It also gives the county more flexibility in running our program to build a jail, because these fees would not be covered under our grant, and they would come from the county’s general fund. It would be a general fund expense for us, and you would then be restricted in your usage of the funds because it would have to be paid as development impact. It can really be seen as a win-win,” Tyler said.

The immediate savings to the City of Colusa’s general fund are much needed, especially after Measure A failed to pass in the election earlier this month.

“This was being pursued prior to the election, because we weren’t sure how it was going to turn out at that point. It played into it in some fashion,” City Manager Randy Dunn said. “We had to come up with some creative solutions to help our general fund, and this will help relieve some of our general fund debt. The council will be looking at all sorts of possibilities in the future.”

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net