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Louisville studying permit changes

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LOUISVILLE — Code Enforcement Officer Anthony McManaman presented a plan to Town Council members last week recommending changes in building permit fees.

Mr. McManaman said the town charges a base rate of $25 for building permits, with an additional $1.25 charged for each $1,000 of value after $4,000. For commercial properties, the base fee is $50, with the same $1.25 charged for each additional $1,000 of property value exceeding $4,000.

The new fees Mr. McManaman proposed would keep the base fee at $25 but calculate additional fees based on square footage rather than the property’s value.

“Pretty much everyone is charging by square foot,” he said. “Right now we have a confusing system. It’s easier to go by square feet.”

For new structures and additions, the base fee of $25 applies plus an additional 15 cents per square foot. For residential garages there is no base fee, with 10 cents per square foot charged. There is a minimum charge of $25.

For commercial properties the base fee remains $25, while the square footage charge is increased to 25 cents. The same fee applies to commercial garages, minus the base fee. For agricultural buildings, permit fees will be $25. Handicapped-accessibility projects require permits, but no fee will be charged.

Town Clerk Joanne H. Cameron said the cost of construction can vary greatly depending on whether the work is done independently or by a contractor.

“If I’m building my own home, it’s not going to cost me as much,” she said. “If you take the same $100,000 in materials and have a contractor build it for you, it’s going to cost you $300,000 or more.”

“The building permit fees we use now are based on so much per thousand of assumed assessed value,” Mr. McManaman said. “It has a problem, in that who determines the cost of construction and how? To make it fair and equitable, the fee should be based on per square foot.”

Councilwoman M. Gail Schneider agreed. “When you have your plans, you know how many square feet your house is going to be,” she said.

Councilman Daniel O’Keefe said he would like to see the impact the new fees would have before deciding whether to implement them. “Let’s apply this to last year’s projects and see where we would come out,” he said.

Mr. McMananaman, who also serves as code enforcement officer in both the town and village of Waddington, said the village already has enacted the new fees, and he expects the town to do the same this week.

Speaking the day after the meeting, Mr. McManaman said he went home after the session and figured that under his proposal, the town would have received $600 in additional revenue last year.

“What I’m trying to do is recover some of our costs,” he said.

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