The cost of development in Delaware County could get slightly more expensive in the near future.
The Delaware County Code Compliance Department has proposed an 8 percent increase in its fees this year and another increase of 10 percent in 2017. The fee increase would cover inspection services provided to both residential and commercial developments.
“The objective is to increase fees so that we can generate additional revenues to cover the expense of our department so we lessen the burden on the general fund,” said Fred Fowler, the department supervisor.
Fees in the department have not increased since 2005, the year the department began operating at a deficit. Since then, the department has been subsidized through the county’s general fund.
“The cost of our services should be paid by those who need our permits, need our plan reviews and need our inspections,” said Fowler.
Two proposals to increase fees, in 2007 and 2009, were not considered.
The department operated with a deficit of $232,000 last year. The operating deficit this year is expected to exceed $300,000.
Even with the proposed increase of 18 percent in fees through 2017, the department would still operate with a deficit of $95,000, based on projects.
Fowler said he believes the fees should be re-evaluated again in 2018.
County Commissioner Gary Merrell said he will “get with the building industry and give them an opportunity to look at it, critique it, suggest.”
Fowler said he would like to have the changes in place by September.
The Delaware County Engineer’s Office is also considering increasing the fee it charges to ensure that developments comply with storm-water regulations.
The fee is currently $100, which Delaware County Engineer Chris Bauserman has proposed increasing to $150.
The fee was established in 2004.
“We actually started to look at changing this at the time when the bottom fell out of the real estate market,” said Bauserman. “We think it’s time to address this in conjunction with our review of inspection fees.”
The county should examine its fees with more regularity in the future, Merrell said.
“In a perfect world, addressing these more frequently would be good for everyone involved,” he said.