County fees to jump
Some county fees are going up this summer, frustrating businesses that already are struggling with an economic slump and rising costs of gasoline and other commodities.
County supervisors approved the fee hikes – some of them double-digit increases – for the building, environmental health and planning departments, as well as for offices of the agricultural commissioner and county surveyor.
The fees typically apply to hourly rates for inspections and processing applications.
“Everything is expensive enough as it is,” said local contractor Greg Gallup, who’s run a business here since 1980. “With the county mandating higher prices, we have to pass them on to homeowners. They’re the ones who ultimately pay.”
Gallup already is coping with high fuel prices for his large diesel truck, on top of existing or pending government mitigation fees.
Starting Aug. 4, hourly building fees will rise from $115.40 to $125.78, environmental health fees will increase from $132.62 to $143.22 per hour, and planning department fees will bump from $111.42 to $119.62. Hourly agriculture fees will change from $73.07 to $86.44 and county surveyor fees will jump from $101 to $128.
At the county transfer station, the cost to dispose of untreated wood waste is going up 50 percent this year from about $22.50 to $30 a ton, or about $4 extra per pick up load. It’s the second year in a row that the cost has gone up 50 percent.
“We hadn’t raised (the price) in 15 years. We got way behind,” explained Steve Porter, solid waste manager, adding that operating costs have escalated in recent years.
The county gets credits for the 20,000 tons of wood waste it receives each year. The material is used to generate power or is turned into soil amendment and compost.
“We adjust our fees according to the rising cost of doing business,” said Daniel Chatigny, chief fiscal administration officer for the county’s community development agency. “A large portion of the expense side of budget is the cost of labor.”
“We don’t like raising fees,” said Supervisor Nate Beason. But he added that collecting the fees from people who request the services is preferable to subsidizing them with money from the general fund, as occurs in some neighboring counties.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4231.
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