WILMINGTON — New Clinton County Building & Zoning (B&Z) fees were approved Monday, to go into effect Oct. 1, with larger homes being subject to the biggest cost increases for residential building permits.
It is the first increase in the user fees charged by the Clinton County Building & Zoning Department since 2005.
Commissioners passed the measure in a 3-0 vote.
They chose Option 2 of three proposed options; Option 2 has cost increases in the middle range of the three alternatives.
During the commissioners’ final meeting on the matter Monday with B&Z Manager Walt Daniel and Assistant B&Z Manager Joshua Harmon, the two B&Z officials spent some of the time addressing why the fee increases for larger houses are more noticeable than for smaller houses.
The average house construction project involves maybe four to five on-site inspections, said Daniel. But for something like one of the larger homes that’s currently being built in the county — it’s a little over 13,000 square feet with an elevator and a sauna — the number of inspections will be 10 to 12.
Presently, this residential construction project has $1,212 in building fees, said Harmon. Under the new rates, it would go up to about $3,727, he said.
Nonetheless, if that same house were instead being built a quarter mile to the west in Warren County, its fees there would be about $9,000, said Harmon.
Currently, the fees on a new 3,200-square-foot house in Clinton County is about $893. Under the new fee schedule it would go up to $1,357. (Note that the average size of new single-family homes built last year in the county was 3,300 square feet.)
Daniel elaborated on what is taking place among new housing in the western part of the county, which he noted is sometimes called a gateway to populous Warren County.
“On that side of the [Clinton] county, houses are getting larger all the time, and more expensive. And I don’t see that that is going to change anytime soon,” said the Clinton County B&Z manager.
Harmon said the updated fee rates are not a flat tax across the community. Instead, it is a case of charging a fee based upon the project “because these are the people who should be paying for the service, not the general public.” The general public would be footing the bill if the increased revenue were drawn from the county’s General Fund coffers.
Commissioner Mike McCarty recommended that going forward, increases in B&Z rates should be done incrementally rather than all-at-once following a lengthy period of time when rates stay the same.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.