The Livingston County Building Department is once again lowering its permit fees, making it the third reduction since 2016.

Building Official Jim Rowell came before the county’s Board of Commissioners Monday night for a resolution that would authorize a reduction in the multiplier used to calculate building permit fees and other adjustments in permit fees for the Building Department. According to a letter from Rowell to commissioners, the Building Department lowered the multiplier by 25% in 2016, then reduced the multiplier by 25 % again last year. In 2017 the department also reduced the majority of fixture-based fees, created a sliding fee scale for higher-valued commercial projects and eliminated unnecessary permits.

The Construction Code Act requires that permit fees “bear a reasonable relation to the cost” of services and Rowell indicates the Building Department currently operates with approximately half the staffing level of the previous high growth year of 2005 / 2006, while current department permit activity and inspections have increased exponentially each year since 2010. The resolution states due to higher efficiencies combined with increased activity, the department fund balance is still at an amount which justifies adjustments in the permit fees, prompting Rowell to recommend another 25% reduction in the multiplier used for fee calculations.

To show how the reductions would affect those obtaining a permit, Rowell included examples of typical projects that the Building Department commonly reviews and permits. One example was a 2,000-square-foot single family home with a 2,000-square-foot unfinished basement and 600-square-foot garage. While the current multiplier calculated the project’s permit fee to be $809, the new multiplier would reduce the fee to $607, saving customers over $200 in that one instance.

Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously, with the new fees scheduled to take effect December 1st. The new multiplier will be used to calculate fees until December 31st, 2021, after which time the multiplier will return to the current rate and all other fee adjustments will remain lowered. (DK)