BEND, OR-The Central Oregon Builders Association is suing the City of Bend, claiming officials violated state statutes when they raised system development charges in July. A pretrial hearing is scheduled December 20 in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

The association, represented by Portland-based law firm Ramis, Crew, Corrigan and Bachrach, says fees have gone up as much as 350% since they were implemented in 1995. The association is seeking an annulment of the increase.

State law allows system development charges by cities in order to cover the cost of new sewer systems, water systems and roads that service new developments. Developers pay the fees when they start new construction projects.

Central Oregon Builders Association president Roger Morse says that despite a legitimate reasons for raising the fees, “we strongly disagree with the methodology being applied to this process and the resulting excess charges being levied.”

The builders claim the city violated state statues by using faulty methodology in computing the new fees. “The Central Oregon Builders Association, with our attorneys, is willing to meet with appropriate representatives from the City of Bend any time to negotiate and settle this matter,” Morse says in a statement. “The association has tried unsuccessfully to explain these errors in methodology to the city in both public and private settings.”

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