City Council, City Services, and School Board Working Together on Permit Fees

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By Dave Freneaux

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Louis DeJohn announced that the permit fees that will be charged for the Central School renovations and new school construction would be drastically reduced.  The final number was still in negotiation at that time, but a tentative reduction of at least 40% was already on the table and the parties were negotiating to further reduce that fee.  Since the parties seemed to be in the midst of good-faith negotiations and the issue was obviously a work in progress, with a 10PM production deadline looming for the next day’s newspaper, opted to bring you as much accurate data as could be determined in this week’s newspaper.

 The permit fee being publicized around Central this past week is $437,000, which reportedly came from a document titled “City of Central Permit Fees” produced by Ross Bogan, the School System’s Construction Coordinator.  Mr. Bogan forwarded us a copy without hesitation, and it appears to be the School System’s estimate of what the permit fees would likely be.  The last two lines of that document read:

“Estimated Total Fees       $437,469”

“60% of Estimated Fees    $262,481”

The 60% is an obvious reference to the already agreed reduction in fees in place before the Council meeting, which the parties were working to reduce even further.

A visit to the City Permit Office yielded the following additional information.   To our knowledge only the Phase One renovation permits have actually been applied for, so the bulk of the fees in question have not been levied or collected from the School System.  It is the opinion of the City Services personnel that when the application IS made for the new school construction permits, the items in Mr. Bogan’s estimate listed as Earthwork, Sitework and Roadwork will not require permitting, and the Plan Review Fee for demolition will also not be required.  In Mr. Bogan’s defense, he has taken an appropriately conservative approach in his estimates, knowing that the final permit fee would be that or less.

Based on the Estimated Construction Costs supplied by Mr. Bogan, the estimated permit fee would be reduced from $437,469 to $262,481 by applying the 40% reduction already tentatively agreed to.  That number is further reduced to $238,129 by recognizing that Sitework, Roadwork and Earthwork do not require permits.   As a point of information, if this permit fee were not reduced any further, Safebuilt would receive $211,670, CH2M HILL would receive $26,458 and the City of Central would receive no money, having waived its portion.  Finally, as our headline points out, all parties are working TOGETHER to bring this permit fee in line with what it should be to treat all parties fairly.  So that no one gets the impression that a newspaper’s coverage has caused these good-faith negotiations, remember that this is a process which began prior to any publicity of the issue. looks forward to reporting to you the final results of the willing and cooperative negotiation process already well underway to set the permit fees for these projects at a level that is fair for all parties.  Look for an article in the next few weeks.


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