Building official: permitting fee overhaul would fix shortfall

Robyn HElt

Robyn Helt, Crestview City Council president

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 at 02:23 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Revising the city's permitting fee schedule would help bridge disparity between fees collected and the Building Permitting and Inspections Department’s actual expenses, city building official Jonathan Bilby said.

For several months, Bilby has been conducting a comprehensive overhaul of his department's fee schedule.

His proposal, presented to the City Council during a workshop Monday, includes increases that would bring Crestview's permitting and inspections fees more in line with other Okaloosa County communities.

Bilby's research began after it became apparent that fees currently charged to developers were insufficient to cover the expense of reviewing plans and inspecting construction.

"We had a significant shortfall and we realized we were relying on tax revenue," Bilby said.

Taxpayer funds — an average of $65,000 per year over the last four years — made up the difference.

Bilby said he analyzed regional permitting fees and found the fee for a 1,200-square-foot building ranged from more than $300 in Crestview to $1,200 elsewhere in the county.

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