In Brief: Beaumont Removed From Regional Transportation Program
By Paul Shigley on 22 October 2009 - 10:12am
The Western Riverside Council of Governments has sued one of its members – the City of Beaumont – for failing to turn over Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fees (TUMF) to the council.
Riverside County and cities in the region began levying the TUMF fee on new development in 2003. The program has generated about $500 million to pay for local and regional transportation projects. Before the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) agreed to cut the fee in half through December 31, 2010, in hopes of encouraging construction, the fee was $9,800 per house, $6,900 per multifamily unit and $10 per square foot of retail development.
The lawsuit claims that Beaumont has not remitted a “significant” amount of fees – ranging from $50 million to $60 million – owed to WRCOG, instead spending the money on improving city streets. In response, Beaumont officials contend that development agreements force the city to spend the money within Beaumont's limits, and that most of the city’s street projects are similar to those on the TUMF list anyway.
The council of governments fought back earlier this month when its members voted to remove Beaumont from the fee program. As a result, Beaumont will not receive about $500,000 in annual sales tax revenue designated for road repairs, because the revenue is available only to jurisdictions that participate in the TUMF program. City officials vowed to fight for their share of the money.
(NOTE THE DATES ABOVE AND BELOW)
Beaumont to withdraw from WRCOG
Beaumont will be withdrawing from a regional agency with which it is butting heads.
According to city spokeswoman Darci Mulvihill, on Tuesday night the Beaumont City Council approved the city's withdrawal from the Western Riverside Council of Governments.
The city has been a member of WRCOG since 1992, according to a city staff report. WRCOG sued Beaumont in 2009 claiming the city owes it millions of transportation dollars.
Posted on | September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments
In addition to being blind, justice is also sorta slow. And sometimes very, very boring. But even the most mundane-sounding disputes can have big implications.
Take the tussle between Beaumont and the Western Riverside Council of Governments over impact fee collections. I’ll try to be brief, but here’s the issue, in a nutshell:
1. The Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee is collected on all new developments, in order to spread the cost of widening and maintaining roads across all the growth that’s requiring the wider roads.
2. Regional officials, namely the Western Riverside Council of Governments and Riverside County Transportation Commission, prioritize which projects get built with TUMF money. A small slice also goes to Riverside Transit Agency.
3. Cities collect the fee when they issue occupancy permits, and then normally remit it. Sometimes they let developers make certain repairs in lieu of the fee, or even waive the fee and pay it themselves to encourage development.
4. Beaumont collected a lot of TUMF money and did a lot of repairs around Beaumont. They spent the money on TUMF-eligible projects, rather than remit it to WRCOG.
5. WRCOG would like their money and Beaumont claims it was perfectly within its right to spend the money. That matter is being decided in Orange County Superior Court, after WRCOG sued in Riverside County and the case got moved.
6. As a result, Beaumont stopped participating in TUMF and WRCOG kicked them out of the program. Who did what first or who broke up with who doesn’t really matter. Stacy told me that Cheryl told her that Frank said it was Col. Mustard in the parlor with monkey wrench… yeah, they disagree. Let’s move on.
ANYWAY, not playing in the TUMF sandbox comes at a price, especially as it comes to local street and road money. In order to get some local money out of RCTC, the city has to be member of TUMF. So Beaumont, along with La Quinta, which has never belonged to TUMF, get nothing.
So that brings us to the present, where Beaumont has filed a lawsuit in Riverside County Superior Court challenging that WRCOG, RCTC and RTA have not followed the TUMF law. The agreement for the county’s half-cent transportation sales tax, Measure A, stipulates that RCTC gets the first $400 million of TUMF for regional road projects. That comes from the 2002 re-approval of Measure A, when voters extended the tax from 2009 to 2039.
And RCTC/WRCOG has answered.
(SEE LINKS FOR PAPERS FILED IN BEAUMONT LAWSUIT)
A separate agreement between RTA and RCTC and WRCOG divides that TUMF money between the three.
Are you bored yet? I know I am.
But this is a big deal, especially for the people of Beaumont. Local street repairs might not sound like much, but when it’s your street that is clogged or the pavement is pitiful, it gets noticed.
Beaumont, if it loses in Orange County, is going to lose out on a lot of money for widening roads. Losing its seat at the table for TUMF, even it keeps what it has built, could cost it future priority projects.
Without all those nice big roads, Beaumont is going to be hard-pressed to lure more development. It might also become an island around which the rest of the cities, namely Banning and Calimesa, have to build and grow.
On the flip side, if Beaumont did things the right way, it might lead other cities to do the same. Then WRCOG is sort of at a loss for controlling regional transportation planning. What’s the point of administering the program, if everyone comes together yearly, agrees on what gets on the list, and then does it themselves?
So as mundane as the courtroom dramas are set to be, they have huge implications on the future of San Gorgonio Pass construction. Stay tuned, even if it’s tough to stay awake.