QUEENSBURY — Warren County supervisors held off Friday on a proposal to increase the fees that are charged on those who are building in the county, after some supervisors expressed concern that the new charges could deter economic activity.
The county building and codes department had proposed increasing some of its fees for building permits and some inspections during the construction process. The goal was to try to close a budget deficit that the department sees in its inspection program.
The biggest change would be a 66% hike in the per-square-foot fee for a home building permit, a rise from 15 cents to 25 cents per square foot. So, for example, a permit for a 2,000-square-foot house will cost $500 instead of $300.
Warren County building permit fees
|Building permit costs||Current||2020|
|Housing/square foot||15 cents||25 cents|
|Multiple dwelling/square foot||18 cents||25 cents|
|Commercial/square foot||18 cents||25 cents|
|Mobile home permit||$50||$100|
|Fire safety inspection||$75||$75|
Commercial buildings would be costlier as well, with the price per square foot rising from 18 cents to 25 cents for industrial and multiple dwelling businesses such as townhouses.
Inspections of “manufactured” homes such as mobile homes were proposed to rise from $50 to $100.
The increases would take effect later this year, with another phase of increases planned for next year as well.
The county Board of Supervisors Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved the increases during a meeting last month, but when it came for the full county board to consider the hike on Friday, backlash led to it being tabled to be sent back to the committee for reconsideration.
Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas, the county’s budget officer, started the discussion, saying that he had concerns that the fee increases could deter development. And in many small towns, construction is a major part of the economy.
“Trying to balance the budget with fees is kind of ridiculous,” he said.
Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson said the increase would generate an estimated $26,000 in additional funds, which did not seem to be worth the problems it could cause. He also questioned whether the additional fees was a double taxation to a degree, as property owners already pay property taxes.
“I don’t think we are getting the best bang for our buck by raising these fees,” he said.
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Glens Falls 5th Ward Supervisor Bennet Driscoll suggested a “more reasonable progression” of increases if they were going to be pursued, and he asked that the proposal be tabled. The board voted 16-2 to table it to have the committee review it again, with only Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer and Queensbury Supervisor John Strough voting not to table.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee meets next on Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the county Municipal Center.
Warren County building permit fees
These building permit and fire inspection permit fee increases had been approved by the Warren County Board of Supervisors Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, but the full board voted Friday to table the measure and send it back to committee. This chart compares current fees with proposed fees.
Building permit costs Current 2020
Housing/square foot 15 cents 25 cents
Multiple dwelling/square foot 18 cents 25 cents
Commercial/square foot 18 cents 25 cents
Mobile home permit $50 $100
Fire safety inspection $75 $75