County OKs changes to building permit fees

Published 11:25 am Friday, May 25, 2012

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners recently approved changing the way the county collects building permit fees.

Previously, the county based its building permit fees on the square footage of buildings being renovated or constructed. At Tuesday’s regular board meeting, the commissioners unanimously accepted the Decatur County Planning Board’s recommendation of changing to a pay schedule based on the values of the proposed renovation or new construction.

Under the new pay schedule, buildings that have a value of $0 to $5,000 will be assessed a building permit fee of $65. For every additional $1,000 in valuation, the building permit fee will increase an additional $4.50. Buildings over $1 million in value will increase by an additional $3.80 for each $1,000 extra in value.

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“We believe that this schedule is not too high, and not too low, but is very competitive with the other counties in our area,” Planning Board Chairman Dean Free said.

The new permit fee pay schedule will become effective Monday, June 11.

The Planning Board’s letter of recommendation stated:

“To ensure that fair values of new construction or renovations are submitted during the permitting process, we propose the following to address that concern:

Require that permits issued are substantiated by actual contracts for new construction and renovations OR require that estimated values established by the owner or general contractor be comparable to 50 percent of the amount of per-foot construction values established by the ICC [International Code Council] in the most current updated ICC schedule of values, whichever is greater.”

Commissioner Dr. Earl Perry told the Planning Board that he thought the updated pay schedule will address a lot of citizens’ concerns.

“I’d like to add how it’s good to have every kind of building come from the same list, rather than have separate categories for agriculture, commercial, residential, and so on,” he said.

In other business, the Board of Commissioners:

• Renewed an annual $13,597 contract with Johnson Controls of Albany, Ga., which provides services to optimize energy and operational efficiencies at the Decatur County Jail. Sheriff Wiley Griffin said the company has been beneficial and recommended the county renew the contract.

• Approved allowing Meredian, Inc., to borrow $200,000 from the Decatur County Revolving Loan Fund. The company commits to use the funds to help construct a $10 million facility that will create or retain 15 full-time permanent jobs. Meredian also commits to repay the loan in a timely manner.