Wilson seeks to increase county fees

May 24, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

A bill to raise various county permit and license fees introduced last week by the County Council president is nearly identical to fee increases the county executive sought and the council rejected last month.

Under Wilson's proposed license and permit fee bill, as in

Rehrmann's, the penalty for a building stop-work citation would be raised from the current $25 to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $300 for the third. The bill also would raise permit fees for new septic systems from $40 to $400.

Council members criticized Rehrmann at a public hearing in April on her proposals to raise license and permit fees because she counted on revenue the fee increases would generate when she prepared her budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Councilwoman Joanne S. Parrott, R-District B, said she has repeatedly reminded the executive, "We are in session 12

months a year."

Parrott said she objected to the fact that for a second year in a row, Rehrmann has tacked bills aimed at generating revenue on the tails of her budget proposal.

Wilson said he decided to introduce his own version of the fee bill because he believes the price the county charges for its services should more accurately reflect the actual cost of providing the service.

Wilson's bill would generate about $500,000 in new revenue; Rehrmann's package of three separate bills would have raised about $750,000.

One main difference between the bills is that Wilson's would allow the Department of Planning and Zoning to charge developers $38 per hour to review plans, said William G. Carroll, director of the county's Planning and Zoning Department.

The county now charges a flat fee to review plans -- a $75 base fee and an additional $45 per lot.

Rehrmann's bill would have raised the base fee to $150 and the per-lot fee to $90 for the first 100 houses, and $45 per house after the first 100 houses have been reviewed.

"The idea we're going to hourly billing is ludicrous," said Carroll.

"It means you have to account for every hour spent and bill applicants on an hourly basis, which is a tremendous administrative burden. This makes it sound like we're providing a service to developers. But we're really providing a service to everybody in the county to provide orderly growth."

Wilson's proposal also differs from Rehrmann's in that it would not raise the $10 monthly mobile home excise tax.

Rehrmann had proposed raising the tax to $20 a month, generating an estimated $200,000.

During a public hearing on the proposal in April, mobile home park residents protested the higher tax. Council members then voted to reject all of Rehrmann's proposed fee increases.

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