Tuesday night, the Sulphur Springs City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance setting the fee schedule for the Community Development Department. A second reading approval is necessary before the new fee schedule takes affect. The proposed Community Development Department fee schedule does a number of things, according to Tory Niewiadomski, Community Development Director.
- It provides more clarity such as defining what constitutes a remodel vs new construction project.
- The fee schedule will primarily be valuation based, meaning that value of the project will determine the permit fees collected.
- Building fees will decrease for smaller non-residential construction projects. For a $50,000 new construction building, the current fee schedule charges $1680, whereas the proposed fee schedule would charge $540.
- Building permit fees will increase for larger non-residential construction projects. For a $1,000,000 new construction building, the current fee schedule charges $3,180, whereas the proposed fee schedule would charge $3,940.
- Residential projects are proposed to be square footage based. The current fee schedule charges $360 for a new home regardless of size. The city will still charge $360 for homes that are 1,200 square feet or less, $440 for homes that are between 1,200 to 2,000 square feet, and would be an additional $0.15 for each additional square foot above 2,000 square feet.
- Work being conducted such as plumbing, mechanical, and other trades will be valuation based as opposed to a flat $40 fee. If a plumber is performing work that is $5,000 or less, the permit fee would be $50 as opposed to the $40 fee.
- There are a few new items being added such as commercial plan review, temporary mobile offices, stop work order fees, parking lots, roofing permits, outside inspection fees, zoning verification, and administrative review fees.
Niewiadomski stated that overall, the goal is to collect enough fees to help cover the service being provided to City residents and businesses for inspections and ensuring safe buildings and structures are being constructed in the community. Currently, the fees being collected are not enough to cover the costs. He said it is found that fees were quite high on smaller projects and were low on larger projects. The city wanted to use a valuation chart, which is an approach that many other communities utilize which is some form of the 1997 Uniform Building Code (UBC) valuation table.
He said the city did not want to propose to have fees be as high as what the 1997 table recommends for permit fee collection, so staff did modify the table to be significantly less than what is recommended in the 1997 table. An example is that on a $100,000 project, the proposed fee schedule would charge $890 for a permit fee vs $993.75 in the 1997 table which is approximately 10% less. On a $1,000,000 project, the City would charge $3,940 vs $5,608.75, which is approximately 30% less than what is recommended.
Niewiadomski said that if approved, the intent is to monitor the fees collected to be able to make an assessment over the next couple of years to see if any changes or modifications are necessary.