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SB-319 Land use: development fees: audit.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/04/2021 09:00 PM
SB319:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 319


Introduced by Senator Melendez

February 04, 2021


An act to amend Section 66023 of the Government Code, relating to land use.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 319, as introduced, Melendez. Land use: development fees: audit.
Existing law, the Mitigation Fee Act, requires a local agency that establishes, increases, or imposes a fee as a condition of approval of a development project to, among other things, identify the purpose of the fee and the use to which the fee is to be put. Existing law requires a local agency to deposit those fees imposed for an improvement to serve the development project in a separate capital facilities account or fund and to expend those fees solely for the purpose for which the fees were collected. Existing law requires the local agency, after each fiscal year, to make public and to review specified information about each of those accounts or funds, including the amount of fees collected and the amount of the expenditures on each public improvement for the fiscal year.
Existing law authorizes a person to request an audit to determine whether a fee or charge levied by a local agency exceeds the amount reasonably necessary to cover the cost of any product, public facility, or service provided by the local agency. If a local agency does not comply with the above-described disclosure requirement for 3 consecutive years, existing law prohibits the local agency from requiring that person to make a specified deposit and requires the local agency to pay the cost of the audit.
This bill, additionally, would require that audit to include each consecutive year the local agency did not comply with the disclosure requirement. The bill would make clarifying changes to that provision.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 66023 of the Government Code is amended to read:

66023.
 (a) Any person may request an audit in order to determine whether any fee or charge levied by a local agency exceeds the amount reasonably necessary to cover the cost of any product, public facility, as defined in Section 66000, or service provided by the local agency. If a person makes that request, the legislative body of the local agency may retain an independent auditor to conduct an audit to determine whether the fee or charge is reasonable, but is not required to conduct the audit if an audit has been performed for the same fee within the previous 12 months.
(b) To the extent that the audit determines that the amount of any fee or charge does not meet the requirements of this section, the local agency shall adjust the fee accordingly. This subdivision does not apply to a fee authorized pursuant to Section 17620 of the Education Code, or Sections 65995.5 and 65995.7.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (h), the local agency shall retain an independent auditor to conduct an audit only if the person who requests the audit deposits with the local agency the amount of the local agency’s reasonable estimate of the cost of the independent audit. At the conclusion of the audit, the local agency shall reimburse unused sums, if any, or the requesting person shall pay the local agency the excess of the actual cost of the audit over the sum which was deposited.
(d) Any audit conducted by an independent auditor to determine whether a fee or charge levied by a local agency exceeds the amount reasonably necessary to cover the cost of providing the product or service shall conform to generally accepted auditing standards.
(e) The procedures specified in this section shall be alternative and in addition to those specified in Section 54985.
(f) The Legislature finds and declares that oversight of local agency fees is a matter of statewide interest and concern. It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature that this chapter shall supersede all conflicting local laws and shall apply in charter cities.
(g) This section shall not be construed as granting any additional authority to any local agency to levy any fee or charge which is not otherwise authorized by another provision of law, nor shall its provisions be construed as granting authority to any local agency to levy a new fee or charge when other provisions of law specifically prohibit the levy of a fee or charge.
(h) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), if a local agency does not comply with subdivision (b) of Section 66006 following the establishment, increase, or imposition of a fee, but requires payment of that fee in connection with the approval of a development project 66006 for three consecutive years, the both of the following shall apply:
(1) The local agency shall not require a deposit for an independent audit requested pursuant to this section and shall pay the cost of the audit.
(2) The independent audit conducted shall include each consecutive year the local agency did not comply with subdivision (b) of Section 66006.