County passes fee increase

Routt County building permits will cost 11 percent more

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Building permit fees for unincorporated areas of Routt County will increase by 11 percent across the board on Oct. 20, the Routt County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday.

Increases within the city of Steamboat Springs could be approved by the City Council next Tuesday, while increases in Routt County towns will be considered in the next few weeks.

Mark Marchus, chief building officer for the Regional Building Department, said the fee increases are necessary to help pay for the department's increased expenditures.

In 2002, the department's expenditures exceeded revenues by $115,000, even though the department retired two employees, Marchus said.

It's important that the department ends each year with a near-zero balance, he said.

"We are a fee-for-service based department, and we do not rely on any sort of tax revenues from the county," Marchus said. "One of my many tasks is to make sure that we have as close to a zero balance at the end of each year as we possibly can."

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said the commissioners watch the department carefully to be sure that it generates enough revenues to meet its expenses.

"All three of us commissioners support that the Regional Building Department needs to be a department that generates the revenues necessary to carry on its activities," Stahoviak said.

The last increase in fees took place in 1996, using a fee schedule based on the 1991 building code.

Even with the recent increase, Routt County fees will be about 29 percent below fees of comparable building departments, such as Jefferson, Summit and Boulder counties.

For a $309,200 single-family residence with a garage and deck, current permit fees would cost $1,375. With the 11 percent increase, the permit would cost about $1,533.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com.

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