The full Warren County Commission will be reviewing additional fees for new construction.
According to county Codes Department director Richard Thompson, the state now charges for certain inspections the county has been providing for free and he would like to start charging.
“These are the charges,” said Thompson, to members of the county Policy and Personnel Committee. “I’ve marked some as discretionary. I would recommend we adopt all of them to bring us equal with the state but leave these ones as discretionary. If we ever have to bring a state inspector in here for some reason, they have to get paid these fees.”
Thompson said the fees marked as discretionary could be waived by the county, but if the state does the inspection, that is the fee that will be charged to pay the inspector and the state.
“These fees are what the state charges, over and above what the county charges,” said Thompson. “If the state has to come out and do an inspection of the slabs, just like I do, they pay an extra $100 for that. The inspector gets $75. The state keeps $25. Same thing with the pre-fab walls and the plumbing HVAC.”
In 2014, the county considered the adoption of a $75 fee for a permit for mechanical or plumbing alterations, such as installing a new hot water heater. For homeowners who tried to slip under the radar and start work without a permit, there would be a $50 penalty imposed.
When that measure came up for consideration before the Warren County Commission, community members came out in force against it. Commissioner Tommy Savage remembers that night.
“Inspections are always supposed to be for safety,” said Savage. “It’s not supposed to be for raising revenue. I’m really afraid this right here is getting dangerously close to the water heater resolution of 2014. I got here at 6 p.m. and there wasn’t a parking place left. I had to park at the alternative school. In this courtroom, it was standing room only. I’ve never seen as many mad people in my life.”
The water heater measure did not pass.
When Commissioner Carlene Brown asked Thompson if he had the qualifications to do all the proposed inspections, he stated, “Yes.”
“So, right now, someone from the state has to come and do these inspections because we aren’t providing them,” said Brown.
Thompson stated, “We are doing them, but we’re doing them for free.”
“Why are we doing them for free? Because we don’t have a free structure for it?” asked Brown.
Thompson stated, “Right. When we adopted our fee structure, the state wasn’t charging for these. They have added these fees since that time.”
“So this is like updating our fee schedule to meet the state?” asked Brown.
Thompson stated, “Right, to be comparable to what the state charges. The state added all these fees.”
A motion to approve the fee structure failed in a tie vote, 2-2. The measure will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for its consideration without a recommendation from committee.
Proposed inspection fees
• plumbing, HVAC $100
• slab inspection $100
• prefabricated wall inspection $100
• re-inspections $100, discretionary
• consultation fee $100, discretionary
• commercial plan review $2.50 per $1,000 up to $1 million and $2 per $1,000 over $1 million with a minimum of $250
• electronic plan submittal $15, discretionary
• double permit fees for starting without a permit, discretionary