Council Waives Fees
After perusing Mayor Pro Tem John Nielsen’s latest newsletter and a few previous ones, I found some interesting information that deserves comment. As I want this blog to reflect the general political commentary of the city, it should include information from all sides when looking at issues that concern us.
One significant issue I failed to report on after the last city council meeting that I attended, was that the city will be waiving business license fees and some construction permit fees for the fiscal year. Nielsen’s newsletter states that he suggested in a prior meeting that construction and permit fees be waived for Tustin Unified School District. Jerry Amante, ever for promoting business in our fair city, jumped on the band wagon and thought it would be a good idea to waive the same fees for business and resident alike who were looking to remodel or build some new construction. There are a lot of exemptions but, for the most part, this is a great thing for the city to be able to do and the city council, who unanimously endorsed the proposal, should be commended.
Let’s go back to the origin of the issue, however. Nielsen’s original proposal to waive fees for TUSD appears to be an olive branch held out to the district. Knowing that Nielsen rarely opposes Amante on council matters, it appears that he was not happy with the current rift between TUSD and the city regarding grading permits. If so, he didn’t go far enough. Nielsen might have done better to counsel his fearless leader in settling completely with TUSD. He and Amante fail to realize that the issue is not over money, it is over span of control. TUSD rightfully claims that, as a separate entity, they have already complied with all state requirements for construction of the properties involved.
In their latest press release, the school district claims it has attempted, for the past 6 months, to resolve the issues between the city and the district. The city has refused to listen. Now, on the heels of this issue comes a new lawsuit filed by the City against TUSD for, what amounts to, breaking a promise. TUSD, realizing that the new Heritage Elementary School located on the old base, could not practically be used as an elementary school because of low projected attendance. The City would have the school district open the school with less than 100 students. That is a third of what the school district says it needs to run the school without deficit. This latest lawsuit only promises to add to the nearly $1,000,000 dollars spent on litigation. Oh, and by the way, that money is your money. As a taxpayer in the City of Tustin, you get to pay for both sides of this debacle.
We could say that John Nielsen tried. Just not hard enough.
Posted on August 22, 2011, in Local Government, politics and tagged Amante, building department, Jerry Amante, John Neilsen, school district, TUSD. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Council Waives Fees.