Fees to rise in AlexandriaMany types of fees are going up in Alexandria – including building fees.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Many types of fees are going up in Alexandria – including building fees.
At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council gave final approval to a wide range of fee adjustments that will take effect in 2012. The council raised the fees to help balance a budget that was ravaged by state aid cuts.
Building fee increases were the most controversial. The city is replacing the fees, based on the 1988 Universal Building Code, with the 1997 UBC rates. The new fees, which are almost double the current amount, are expected to increase city revenues by $170,000 a year.
Assistant City Administrator Marty Schultz gave an example of how the new fees will work. The fees for a project valued at $180,000 would amount to $2,262.63 (including plan review and surcharges). Under the current fee structure, the total would be $1,226.40.
During the public comment period at the end of the meeting, two members of the Vikingland Builders Association spoke against the fee increases.
Neil Jenzen of Alex Brick and Stone said that the increases will make it hard for VBA to live up to its mission statement of providing quality, affordable construction. He said the building industry is going through difficult times right now, adding that the VBA even moved its office to save on rent.
Jay Paulson with High Point Homes said the bad economy forced him to lay off two people. He said he was disappointed that the council was nearly doubling the fees without first getting input from local builders.
Virgil Batesole was the only council member who voted against the fee increase. He said that times were too tough for construction companies right now to be “jamming [an increase] down their throat.”
Council member Sara Carlson said the council realized how tough the economy is but it had to come up with some way to generate revenue without having to increase everyone’s taxes that much more. “None of us likes to do this,” she said.
Council member Owen Miller noted that with the increases, the city’s building department will be able to operate in the black, covering its overhead costs. Under the existing fees, the department would have been operating at a loss of nearly $100,000.
Batesole said it wasn’t right for the city to raise fees to cover expenses without attacking the efficiency of the building department.
In addition to the building fees, several other fees also increased – except for club license fees that apply to the Elks, Eagles and VFW clubs.
In the past, clubs paid a yearly fee of $750. The new fee is based on membership: fewer than 200 members – $300, 201 to 500 – $500, 501 to 1,000 – $650, 1,001 to 2,000 – $800, 2001 to 4,000 – $1,000, 4,001 to 6,000 – $2,000 and more than 6,000 – $3,000.
Schultz said that most local clubs would fall under the $300 or $500 fee.
Other fee changes include (existing amounts are shown in parenthesis):
• Building inspection fees – $65 per hour ($47 per hour).
• Mechanical inspection fees – $65 per hour ($47 per hour).
• Taxicab, per vehicle – $25 ($15).
• Sign and awning hangers – $100 ($75).
• Excavation – $100 ($75).
• Massage license, individual – $50 ($35).
• Heating, ventilation and air conditioning installers, renewal – $100 ($75).
• Right-of-way permit – $50 ($35).
• Dog license – $20 ($15).
• Temporary sign – $20 ($15).
• Private sewage disposal system fee – $200 ($50).
• Mechanical competency card – $15 ($10).
The fee changes, not including the building fees, are expected to generate about $3,000 more per year.
Building fee amounts are based on the total valuation of a project. Here are the new fees (with the old fees in parenthesis) based on the following valuations:
$1 to $500 – $23.50 ($12.10).
$501 to $2,000 – $23.50 ($12.10) for the first $500, plus $3.05 ($1.69) for each additional $100.
$2,001 to $25,000 – $69.25 ($37.45) for the first $2,000, plus $14 ($7.26) for each additional $1,000.
$25,001 to $50,000 – $391.75 ($204.43) for the first $25,000 plus $10.10 ($5.32) for each additional $1,000.
$50,001 to $100,000 – $643.75 ($337.43) for the first $50,000, plus $7 ($3.36) for each additional $1,000.
$100,001 to $500,000 – $993.75 ($518.93) for the first $100,000 plus $5.60 ($2.90) for each additional $1,000.
$500,001 to $1 million – $3,233.75 ($1,678.93) for the first $500,000, plus $4.75 ($2.47) for each additional $1,000.
$1 million and up – $5,608.75 ($2,918.93) for the first $1 million, plus $3.15 ($1.65) for each additional $1,000.
Permit plan reviews issued with the building permits will also increase because they are equal to half of the permit fee for one and two-family dwellings and 65 percent of the fee for all other buildings.