Building fees may increase

Permit costs would help cover Regional Building expenses

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Building fees could increase by 11 percent across the board to help pay for the county's Regional Building Department's increased expenditures.

Mark Marchus, chief building officer of the department, said the department's expenditures ex-ceeded revenues by $115,000 last year.

"The basis for this is in 2002, the building department retired two employees ... and even at that, the department was still $115,000 in the red," Marchus said.

By retiring one of the two electrical inspectors and not filling a part-time summer inspector position, the department reduced expenses by $86,000, he said. But to maintain service levels, staffing must be maintained.

Increasing fees would help the department balance that deficit.

For an average single family residence with a garage and deck that's valued at $309,200, permit fees would cost $1,375. With the 11 percent increase, the permit would cost about $1,533.

The last increase in fees was in 1996.

"We're really about 12 years behind," Marchus said.

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

Routt County commissioners agreed with the proposed increases.

"The commissioners have been trying to hold down the cost of this department, but at the same point and time, we've been trying to ensure this department is self-funded," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said. "User fees are the way this department should be funded and paid for."

The increase was discussed with Routt County commissioners last week and will be presented to the Steamboat Springs City Council within the next few weeks, Marchus said. The City Council will vote on the increase.

A public hearing will be held Sept. 30 in the Commissioners Hearing Room in the Routt County Courthouse Annex.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-420

3 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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