Sunset Valley City Council has refunded the Brodie Homestead Event Center $61,471 in fees that were collected 10 years ago because the city had yet to use them.

The fees were originally collected during the project’s development for watershed protection and mitigation efforts. Brodie Homestead Owner Dan Ross officially submitted a request for a refund because no efforts had taken place. The more than $61,000 had been represented as a line item on the city’s budget as a committed fund each year since 2012, but no specific projects were ever planned by the city for water mitigation improvements at the site.

City Attorney Roxana Stevens, who began representing the city this month, said the fees may have been incorrectly classified as a mitigation fee instead of an impact fee, which would have required a specific outline to use the funds in the future. Additionally, as an impact fee, because the money collected from the Brodie Homestead was not used within a five-year period, the city is required to refund the fee upon request.

Mayor Rose Cardona, who was on City Council when the fee was initially requested by the city in 2012, said she thought the fee was arbitrary at the time and was not comfortable collecting it from the beginning.

“I remember not being comfortable with this fee being assessed in part because I didn’t know how we would calculate how it was used for mitigation,” she said at the June 2 city council meeting before council members approved the refund.

Ross, who renovated the historic Brodie Homestead at 5211 Brodie Lane into an event venue, said that his business has seen 35-40 events either postponed or completely canceled from the start of the coronavirus pandemic through the end of June. As a result, the business has seen revenues decrease by at least 95%, he said.