CRESTVIEW Explaining that Crestview's building permit fee schedule does not cover actual expenses, building official Jonathan Bilby presented proposed revisions to the fee schedule to the city council.


CRESTVIEW Explaining that Crestview's building permit fee schedule does not cover actual expenses, building official Jonathan Bilby presented proposed revisions to the fee schedule to the city council.



Speaking at a Monday afternoon workshop, Bilby said there is an annual shortfall of more than $62,000 between fees taken in by the city's Building Division and the actual cost of reviewing plans and doing inspections.



The shortfall is covered by tax dollars, Bilby said.



"We have to go back to the general fund and every taxpayer is having to help cover this," Councilman Mickey Rytman said.



Bilby asked the council to revise the city's fee ordinance and use the Florida Building Code instead.



He also recommended taking a processing fee when a developer first applies for permits to cover administrative costs. Under the current procedure, if the developer cancels the project, the Building Division cannot recover any expenses it had already incurred.



Bilby also recommended rounding fees to the nearest dollar to make it easier to estimate fees for developers. Under the current fee structure, for example, a 200-square-foot home addition would incur total fees of $282.58.



"Our base permit fees are the absolute lowest in the county," Bilby said, recommending fees more in the "mid-level" range to alleviate a burden to taxpayers while not discouraging growth.



Bilby's recommendations included adding a plan review fee; lowering reinspection fees; addressing expired permits; revise electrical fees; and adding fees for changing electric hot water heater, fire sprinkler adjustments or additions fee, and a $10 charge for faxing permits.



The revised ordinance is almost read, Bilby said. He wants to seek input from the Building Industry Association before bringing it to the city council, probably within a month.



"Addressing permit fees can help us provide for a balanced budget and help pay for training and education we're required to have," Bilby said.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.