LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Record breaking numbers are helping force a proposal to increase fees on construction permits.
The Lafayette City Council will consider Monday night a proposal changing the way permit fees are calculated from a dollar amount based on the value of the project to based on square footage.
It's a move that City Engineer Jenny Leshney says will mirror other Indiana communities and be virtually identical to Tippecanoe County's fee structure. It's believed to be the first increase in fees in more than 20 years.
Last year, Leshney says the department responded to 3,100 building permit requests, an increase of about 800 in just two years. There were also 2,500 electrical permit requests, an increase of another 800 in just two years.
The increased fee proposal is expected to raise revenue about $100,000 annually, enough to fund the position hopefully by May.
"Our building permits have increased significantly since 2005 and we need to increase staff to go with that increase in building permits," said Leshney.
Leshney says a home with 2,000 square feet that was valued at $120,000 had a permit fee of $263. Under the new structure, it would be charged $300. Leshney says another disadvantage of the current system is that it encourages people to lower the value of their project so they can pay a lesser fee.
For a commercial project that has 5,000 square feet of space, the fee would rise from $1,023 to $1,250. For very large projects, the permit fee is capped at $10,000.
The proposal also increases electrical upgrade and residential demolition permits from $27 each to $50.
The biggest increase is in the permanent sign permit fee which is currently $27, but is proposed to rise to $200. Excavation permit fees are proposed to rise from $10 to $50. Plus, the city will charge a re-inspection fee of $50 for the first time and another $50 for the second re-inspection. Under the current ordinance there is no re-inspection fee the first time and only $25 for the second.
The ordinance proposal also creates fire protection fees for the first time. If passed, businesses would be charged $50 for annual inspections at commercial facilities. If inspectors have to go out a second time, the fee would be another $50, with escalating fees for each additional trip.
A shooting on Lafayette's south side is under investigation.
It's been nearly a month since a tornado damaged Southwestern Middle School and Mintonye Elementary School, giving faculty the task of helping students transition to their new surroundings.
Donations are being accepted to help around 300 seniors receive a holiday gift.