MP Council may increase some city fees

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


Fees will be on the rise soon for city residents.

During Wednesday?s regular council meeting, council members approved first readings of an amendment to the building and zoning department fee schedule, and also for two activities sponsored by the parks and recreation department.

Jack Swarm, city building and zoning director, said a new proposed fee schedule was drafted after he compared Mt. Pleasant?s building, electrical, plumbing etc. fees with those of other nearby communities.

?I am recommending an increase to bring them more in line with other cities,? Swarm stated. ?Burlington still is considerably higher and Washington is higher, too.?

The building permit fee will be based on the total cost of the project (total valuation). To determine the total cost of the project, all work, including grading, site improvements, structural, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, interior finishes and labor will be used to determine the cost of the project.

Under the new schedule, building permit fees will range from $13 ($1 to $500 assessed valuation) to $3,0876.75 for the first million dollars of valuation and $2 for each million of valuation thereafter. A building permit for a house with an assessed valuation of $100,001 to $500,000 would be $546.75 for the first $100,00 plus $3.10 for each additional $100,000 to and including $500,000.

The base plumbing permit will be $15 plus $3 for each permanently installed fixture, outlet, appliance equipment or other appliances regulated by the plumbing and mechanical codes of the city.

Electrical permit fees will range from $10 for adding up to two circuits in residential or commercial property to $50 for a new residential dwelling plus $5 per branch circuit.

The same rationale was used in raising the fee for swimming lessons and the entry fee for a coed adult softball team. Residential group swimming lessons will be $35 and private lessons $65. For non-residents, group lessons will be $40 and private lessons $70. The team entry fee for adult coed softball is listed at $300.

?Every two years, the parks and recreation committee and staff looks at the fees and sees if the programs are paying their way,? City Administrator Brent Schleisman said. ?Salaries for lifeguards have gone up and we compared our fees with other towns and even with the increase, we still rank in the middle.

Approval was also given for new computer software for the building and zoning department. The department will be receiving iWorq software. The initial cost is $11,000 and the annual subscription fee will be $6,250 and never increase unless additional software is added.

Swarm said he is ?really excited? to begin working with the software. The software will allow residents to apply for permits online 24 hours a day. He said he will have access to all files 24/7 whether in the field or in the office. ?This means I always have all plans with me without carrying big rolls of plans with me,? he said.

With the new software, Swarm said it will make his office more efficient and save him time.

A resolution awarding the multi-million dollar contract for Jay Street sewer improvements was tabled. Mayor Steve Brimhall said the city received five bids and all were considerably higher than the engineer?s estimate. ?Brent and Jim (Warner of Warner Engineering, the engineering firm for the project) will meet to go over the bids and see what can be eliminated to come closer to the engineer? estimate,? Brimhall said.

A $7,500 bid from Allender Butzke Engineers Inc. of Urbandale was accepted. The firm will conduct an environmental study on eight acres of land on East Cedar Lane the city is considering purchasing. Some of the possible uses for the property include another city well, a water retention pond and a park.

In final action, the council:

? Passed the third reading and approved adding a four-way stop at the intersection of North Mill and East Main streets.

? Was told by Councilman Kent White that Courtland Street should be open to traffic in about a week.

The council meets again in regular session Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.