Effective today, Mecklenburg County's Code Enforcement department has hiked its building permit fees by 4.75 percent as a way to help make up for lower revenues caused by the construction shortfall.
The county said that Mecklenburg historically has had some of the lowest permit fees in the country, and the new increase is the first across-the-board hike since 2003. County commissioners gave final approval to the new fees on Tuesday night.
You can read a list of the new fees by clicking here, or reading this news release from the county. In addition to the building permit fees, the code enforcement department also is raising the cost of commercial plan reviews and hazardous material permit fees. Also, there is a new charge for ABC building inspections.
The new fees could raise an additional $200,000 for the remaining months of the current budget, and about $1.5 million for the new fiscal year that begins in July.
The code enforcement department also has laid off employees, and made other budget cuts in response to declining revenues, which are down roughly 50 percent in two years. Without the new fees, officials said they'd have to cut another 15 to 20 staff members, which would hurt the department's ability to handle the work they do have now.
Have questions about the new fees? The county recommends contacting the Residential Technical Assistance Center at 704-432-7822 or the Commercial Technical Assistance Center at 704-336-3829 , ext. 4. -- APRIL BETHEA