City looks to recalibrate building fee structures

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – City officials will be considering a resolution to update fees for zoning applications, building and electrical permits and nuisance fee abatements at Tuesday’s regular city council meeting.

In a memo presented to the council by city Building Director Doug Krogmeier, he wrote fees haven’t been updated in more than 12 years and said resetting the fees will generate more revenue across the board helping the city recoup more of it’s costs. However, smaller projects could result in savings for residents.

According to a report included with the memo, the city currently charges $10 for electrical permits, but Krogmeier proposes that fee be increased to $20 for 1-100 amps, 101-200 amps would be $30, over 200A would be $40, with initial inspections being $20 and each additional inspection $20.

Building Permit Fees, under the proposal, would be based on the 2018 International Residential Code which is a tiered permit structure. The structure charges based on the total valuation the project ranging from $1 to $5 million and over.

$1 to $500 would be a flat $24 fee, but beyond that there is varying flat fee, plus incremental costs based on ranges from $100 to $1 million increments.

The full index can be found by clicking here: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IRC2018/appendix-l-permit-fees

A project ranging from $2,000 to $40,000 would require fees of $69 for the first $2,000 plus $11 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof, up to and including $40,000. As an example a $30,000 project would require city fees of $377.

According to Krogmeier currently fees are set by the 1997 Uniform Building Code and residents doing smaller projects could see a savings, with larger projects carrying heavier permitting fees.

The city will actually collect less money off fees for projects less than $84,000, but will collect more in fees on projects over that threshold, according to Krogmeier. He said that structure would benefit residents doing remodels to help maintain current city structures.

The city also currently charges costs incurred by a contractor for abating nuisances, plus a $10 processing fee, but Krogmeier wrote that doesn’t cover city costs to process the nuisances.

The abatement fee structure under consideration would include a minimum of $50, plus an hourly $40 charge, and a $10 filing fee. Abatement administration fees would be waived on the first abatement starting in 2019 to help educate the community on the new charges, but $100 would assessed on a second abatement and $200 charge for any subsequent abatements . Starting in 2021 the fees would be set at $100 for the first abatement and $200 for any additional abatements.

The city council will also consider zoning and plumbing fee adjustments.

In other action, the council is scheduled to:

• consider and take possible action on a financial audit of the North Lee County Historical Society.

• approve an agreement for TAP grant funds for the Connecting Fort Madison! Phase 3 – of the PORT trail, which will connect 48th Street to the Fort Madison Community Hospital. An agreement with Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission to administrate the grant for $5,000 will also be up for approval.

• approve three agreements with Amtrak to shore up the city’s Amtrak depot relocation language.

• approve professional services agreement up to $110,000 with HR Green, Inc. for reconstruction of Avenue O from 35th to 36th Streets under the Old Highway 61 reconstruction program.

About Chuck Vandenberg 4707 Articles
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