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Clovis Readies Plan to Charge Builders More for New Water Supply

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Home and commercial developers looking to build in Clovis will pay more for water under a plan adopted by city council members Monday.
The new charge will help defray $35 million in costs the city will incur to secure additional water supplies from the Fresno Irrigation District, needed to support Clovis’ future growth.

Water Deal Made Last Year

Last year, the Clovis City Council entered into a long-term contract to increase its municipal water supply. Now, the city has a plan to pay for it.
The council voted unanimously to allow a new fee to be charged to developers for future projects. How much to charge and which projects will be required to pay the fee is set to be finalized on March 16.
As part of the $35 million water deal, FID will provide up to 7,000 acre feet of water annually for 25 years. One acre foot of water is about 326,000 gallons. An average household uses a half to one acre-foot of water a year.
The city will directly fund $5 million of the cost — due in September — through its Water Enterprise fund. The remainder will come from fees paid by developers – from $1 million to $1.5 million per year over the life of the agreement.
“The need for the additional water supply is directly tied to land development that creates the demand for additional water supply,” according to the city’s staff report. “The impact fee will be used to acquire new water resources for land developed at intensities and water use demands that exceed any available water allocation.”
The agreement also increases Clovis’ current share of FID’s water supply from 6.42% to 7.12%. That translates to an additional 4,500 acre feet in an average water delivery year.

How to Spread Allocation of New Water

The city council considered two options for charging developers for the extra water allotment.
The first method spreads the extra water costs to all future developers evenly; the second would charge a lower initial rate and a higher rate for later development projects. City staff recommended option number one.
“The advantage is there is no have-nots so to speak. The first thousand acres, would have the same cost as the next thousand,” city engineer Mike Harrison said. “It is consistent pricing and an even playing field.”
For residential projects, the city estimates that developers will pay an additional $1,300 per home to build a new medium-density neighborhood.
“We have a new way of receiving water from FID. The water has a price tag that needs to be paid for,” Harrison said.

Six Months of Negotiation

Harrison said the city discussed the best way to spread out the new water and charge the fees with about 100 different stakeholders — developers, industry leaders, and large landowners. Talks took place over six months.
Mike Prandini, president of the Building Industry Association Fresno/Madera chapter, says those talks have gone well.
“We have no objection to establishing the fee.  We have been in discussion with the staff and I think we have agreement on the amount and when it will be implemented,” Prandini said.
Once the fee amount is established, Prandini expects it will be added on to the price of each new home in Clovis.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email