By SCOTT PESZNECKER
Calaveras County supervisors remain weeks away from establishing road impact mitigation fees, but they're inching closer.
Supervisors yesterday said they feared the RIM fees, as proposed, could hurt local businesses.
They also haven't decided if they want to use fee revenue to pay for state highway projects.
RIM fees are levied on new buildings within county limits and are paid when people or developers take out building permits.
The fees are used for road improvements, such as widening and straightening roads or adding new ones, but not for road repairs, such as filling potholes.
The county is not required to use RIM revenue to fund state road projects, but county residents use the roads, so some supervisors say the county should pay its share.
"I'm not quite clear where we're going to end up," said George Dondero, executive director of the Calaveras Council of Governments, the agency overseeing creation of the RIM fees.
When the board meets again next week, supervisors will vote to adopt one of six proposed options for RIM fees.
The first would set aside no RIM fees for state highway projects.
The second option would fund passing lanes on Highway 4 and would straighten and widen parts of Highway 12.
Options three, four and five all include funding for the option two projects, but option three would fund the North Angels Bypass, option four would fund the Valley Springs bypass and option five would fund part of the Wagon Trail Expressway which involves straightening and widening Highway 4 between Angels Camp and Copperopolis.
Option six would fund all of the above projects.
"I have a really hard time thinking that we as a county should assume responsibility for state roads," Supervisor Tom Tryon said.
But all supervisors ultimately agreed with Dondero that the RIM fee should cover at least some state projects.
"Our county uses the state highway system as our main arterial system," Dondero said. "The question is, where are we going to put that new traffic if not on the state highway system?"
Without state highway projects, the proposed RIM fees are $2,500 for each single-family home and $1,800 for each unit in a multi-family home.