Bill makes clarifying changes on the Mitigation Fee Act
SACRAMENTO—Local agencies charging mitigation fees for development projects will be required to share more information in their annual reports about how those charges are being used and better inform payees of their rights to request an audit under a bill signed today by the governor. The bill, AB 516 was authored by Assemblymember James C. Ramos.
Ramos said he introduced the measure earlier this year in order to assist with an issue small businesses have raised. He stated, “Small businesses are a pillar to the economy. They often pay a fee as required by local governments and feel left in the dark when trying to understand where and how their money is being used. These businesses deserve greater transparency about the use of the fees they pay.”
Existing law allows local agencies to impose a mitigation fee to pay for building sidewalks, parks, schools, and other public projects. Under AB 516, agencies will now be required to include information about the construction status, reasons for any delays in the project and revised completion dates. In addition, agencies must inform individuals requesting audits if the fees are more than needed for the project, dates of local agency meetings to review annual Mitigation Fee Act reports, when collected fees will be spent and when the public improvement is scheduled for completion. The new information sharing requirements do not apply to water and sewer connections or capacity charges.
Ramos said, “AB 516 will provide greater transparency to small business owners across the state on the use of fees they pay and their right to request an audit. The reporting changes will also help ensure that local agencies are using funds wisely and for the purpose the fees are charged. I want to thank the Governor for signing this business-friendly legislation.”
AB 516 was supported by the Hispanic Coalition of Small Businesses, California Apartment Association, California Association of Realtors, California Building Industry Association and Govern for California. The bill received bipartisan support in both houses during the legislative process.
Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes the Cities of Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Committees on Rules.