Public to weigh in on building permit fees

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A hearing to talk pros and cons with the public about a higher but flat fee for building permits for construction outside Vicksburg is set for April 21.

Warren County supervisors passed a resolution Monday approving a $25 fee for new residential and commercial buildings, a rate to become effective at a date expected to be set after the hearing. The hearing will be held because the move involves changing an ordinance.

Costs associated with inspection and research are behind the hike, Emergency Management Director John Elfer told supervisors before the vote. Currently, the county charges $5 for developments such as sheds, storage buildings, gazebos and other structures valued at more than $500 and $10 for buildings in floodplains.

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Totals from Elfer’s office last week showed $2,270 from fees in 2012, a figure that he said would have been $9,025 with higher fees across the board. Board President Bill Lauderdale said the higher user fee helps the county avoid dipping into property tax revenue to support the emergency management and permitting functions, which are combined.

“There’s no way we can come anywhere close to breaking even (with the current fee structure),” Lauderdale said.

The emergency management and permitting offices employ an office assistant over permitting, a field inspector and an office assistant for emergency management.

The emergency management and building permit functions were set to receive $217,813 in general funds for fiscal 2014, according to the county’s budget adopted in September. The level is $6,573 more than fiscal 2013 due to higher costs for retirement and health insurance.