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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / East County | Moorpark

Fee Increase OKd to Fund Police Station

September 22, 2000|TRACI ISAACS

Moorpark has moved a step closer to building its own sheriff's station at a cost of $6 million, by raising fees charged to developers.

Despite concerns raised by some about the need to spend the additional fees--estimated to be double the current average of $303--on affordable housing, the City Council voted 5 to 0 Wednesday to approve the fee hike.

The new developer fee takes effect in 60 days.

All residential and commercial buildings in Moorpark pay a police facilities fee. The fee has remained in place since the city's incorporation in 1984. The rates were reviewed and raised in 1995 in anticipation of opening the station by 2010.

Plans to hire more deputies and add more patrols will necessitate building a large, permanent station earlier than the city expected, said Mayor Pat Hunter, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department lieutenant.

The city contracts with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services. About two dozen deputies and civilian workers are stationed at a 2,200-square-foot office in the old Moorpark Unified School District offices on Flory Avenue.

Councilman Chris Evans acknowledged that the city needs a police station but said low-cost housing should also remain a priority.

"I have a concern about who we're taking care of," he said. "Kids and schools are our assets, and we say, 'When you grow up, move to Oxnard.' "

No units for low-income residents have been built in the city in about 10 years, said Nancy Burns, a redevelopment analyst for Moorpark. Of the nearly 1,300 units in six developments planned and underway in the city, about 130 are low-income units, she said.

To answer concerns about the amount spent on housing for Moorpark's low-income residents, Councilwoman Debbie Rogers suggested lifting the police facility fee on affordable housing units.

City Manager Steve Kueny balked at that plan and warned the council that every fee dollar waived would mean less money in city accounts.

"There's an unfortunate need to increase [the fee] to maintain the balance of five years ago," Kueny said.

Based on growth projections, the fee increase should create a $3.7-million balance in the city's police facility account by the end of 2010, said Dana Shigley, Moorpark's administrative services director.

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