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Lisbon Town Council reacts negatively to new fee from the county

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LISBON – A new fee implemented by the County Legislature targeting building permit applicants is looking to raise $12,000 a year for the County Planning Office. It is also raising the ire of Lisbon Council members who see it as an impediment to development.

“St. Lawrence County is getting to be an expensive place to live,” Alan D. Dailey, Lisbon Town Council member, said.

Matilda M. Larson, county planner, said the fee was implemented because the county is in “cost recovery mode.”

“The board of legislatures asked us to figure out how to generate 12,000 in additional revenue,” Ms. Larson said.

The fee targets residential and commercial building permits that are referred to the County Planning Office. Projects must be referred to the County Planning Office if they are located within 500 feet of a county, village or town boundary, a county or state park or highway, or a farm. The complete list can be found on the Planning Office’s website.

For residential permits that are reviewed by the Planning Office, fees can range from $25 to $150 depending on the scale of the project.

Commercial permits can range from $75 to $150, plus another $50 for every addition 5,000 square feet on projects over 10,000 square feet.

“The anticipation is that applicants will cover the cost,” Ms. Larson said.

Mr. Dailey said he doesn’t think the cost, by itself, is prohibitive for future growth.

“My biggest criticism is that, on top of [the county] raising property taxes 13 percent, here is another tax that is hidden as a fee,” Mr. Dailey said. “I don’t think it’s fair.”

“I don’t think you’re going to see businesses and residents flocking to the area if they keep adding fees on top of the 13 percent tax.”

Lisbon Town Council Member Susan M. Duffy agreed, adding this is the opposite of the town’s goal of “incentivizing business development.”

An addition $25 fee will be charged to municipalities for each planning board and zoning board of appeals member they send to the county for mandatory training.

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