Council to vote on endorsing farmer for water district seat

City Council will vote on Monday to endorse a longtime Gilroy farmer to the now empty seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors, as Gage resigns from the board to step into his role as Gilroy’s new mayor.

Cherry farmer Ralph Santos, 61, is interested in taking the open seat, and Gage has given him a full-fledged, glowing endorsement.

“The board has three lawyers, one politician, union members, environmentalists, but no farmers. They don’t any more lawyers. They don’t need any more politicians. They need a farmer to represent the agricultural needs in the county,” Gage said.

Competing for the seat is Dennis Kennedy, 74-year-old engineer and former Morgan Hill mayor.

“Farmers need a voice, so that’s the reason for Ralph,” Gage said.

The water district will vote to appoint one person to the two-year seat sometime in February. 

Also on Monday’s agenda:

Council is slated to vote to approve staff’s recommendation to lower development fees for water, sewer, traffic and storm impact by 18 percent across the board.

Staff wrote that the changing economic climate begs for adjusted development fees to reflect project costs, land values, construction costs and interest rates.

The current development fees were implement in 2004.

“Since the 2004 study, and based on the effects of the Great Recession, the anticipated dollar values for construction, equipment, land and other related costs have changed and affected the underlying budget assumptions for projects included in the 2004 study,” staff wrote in their report.

Development fees vary between residential, commercial and industrial projects.

Traffic impact frees for a low-density development is currently $11,809 per unit. The pending revised fees would drop that cost to $9,683, a $2,126 reduction. Sewer impact fees for a low-density residential development are currently $12,531 and would be reduced to $10,275 per unit. Residential water impact fees would see a $942 reduction, bringing the revised fee to $4,294 per unit. Storm impact fees would drop from $688 per unit to $564. 

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