Refund checks totaling $195,000 have been mailed by the City of Sulphur Springs following the discovery of inaccurate building permit fees during a review of the budget. During a four year period 618 permits out of 2363, or one in four permits were overcharged.
During the fall of 2012, the City of Sulphur Springs Department of Community Development upgraded its permit process by acquiring and implementing the IWORQ permitting system. The new systems provided many positive changes according to a news release from City Manager Marc Maxwell. He stated, “Unfortunately, its implementation was flawed.” Problems occurred at the time that the Community Development Department was reorganized with a new department head and a new Chief Building Official. As new staff transitioned and as the new program was implemented, some of the permit fees were incorrectly entered. Utilizing those incorrectly entered permit fee amounts, approximately one in four permits issued during the past four years contained overcharges.
Since the discovery of the improperly entered fee amounts in October, the City has taken action to correct the errors going forward. Additionally, during the same period, the City has manually audited every permit issued since the implementation of the IWORQ software. Beginning Thursday, December 29, 2016, the City of Sulphur Springs is issuing refund checks to each person who was overcharged for the building permits they received from the city.
The city of Sulphur Springs has also taken effective action to ensure that this kind of problem does not occur again in the future. We, as a City, strive to maintain an environment that fosters responsible and progressive economic growth and that will not change, according to Maxwell. He stated, “We strive to be a partner to those persons willing to invest in the growth and progress of Sulphur springs. As we move forward, we will continue to promote that partnership, to build on our successes and to create a strong and inviting city.”