Costs going up?
STAMFORD — Builders, barbers, hoteliers and others could be paying the city more next year, and have the first week of the new year to say something about it.
The Board of Representatives has scheduled public hearings Wednesday and Thursday on several fee hikes Mayor David Martin has proposed to prop up a slumping budget with new revenue.
Aptly for the new year, the hearings start Wednesday evening with agenda item No. 1, “RESOLUTION and public hearing; Concerning Building Permit Fees.”
If you are a developer planning to put up something that will cost more than $1 million to build, the Building Department would like to see an additional $2.50 for every thousand dollars spent above the million-dollar mark in exchange for a building permit.
The city Health Department also has a slew of new and increased fees up for approval.
According to the proposals, a Health Department review for a hotel plan would go from free to $325; the same goes for anyone hoping to build 40 apartments or more or an assisted living facility.
An initial day-care inspection fee would run $200, followed by biennial inspections of $200 each. A barber or hairdresser hoping to open would now see a $100 fee for an inspection.
The department is also seeking new or increased fees for some resident services such as immunizations for adults. A previously free vaccination consultation would cost $15, and shots for Hepatitis A and Polio would each cost $10 more, $85 and $55 respectively. The common Chickenpox vaccine would cost $40 more, jumping to $125.
Although the Health Department fees will undoubtedly perturb some residents and small businesses, the building fee hike was crafted to target only large developers as the city’s building boom shows no signs of wavering.
If the new fees for commercial construction — which includes large apartment complexes — go into effect, a $50 million building would cost a developer roughly $122,000 more than the $825,000 it now pays for a permit.
In all, the fees come after a tough budget year — one that killed the Fourth of July fireworks show — which Martin has blamed on increased attention to long-underfunded liabilities.
The fees are even tied to another budget-crunch compromise.
Martin in another cost-saving measure this fall attempted to end loose-leaf pickup in favor of bagged leaves, but abandoned the idea, in the face of pushback from the 40-member Board of Representatives, as long as the board pledged to look at his fee-hike plans in good faith.
He managed to garner 26 signatures on an agreement that the board would do so.
The first public hearing — before the Operations Committee — is on the proposed building fee hike. The meeting is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in City Hall’s Republican Caucus Room on the fourth floor.
The next day, in the fourth-floor Democratic Caucus Room, the Public Safety and Health Committee will hold a hearing on the Health Department’s slate of new fees and fee hikes. That meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
email@example.com; 203-964-2263; @bglytton