City residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on a new fee during a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26.

Rather than have the county process applications for building permits for city residents, the city wants to oversee the process. The city proposes charging an administrative fee that would be an additional 25 percent of whatever the building permit costs. The type of project determines the cost of the building permit.

During discussion Monday, Aug. 12, Councilman Randy Saunders questioned if the fee was fair and appropriate.

“Wouldn’t we just be charging citizens more for the same service they are getting now?” Mr. Saunders asked. “Why can’t the county just charge 75 percent of whatever the building permit costs and then we get 25 percent?”

Councilwoman Amy Telford also asked why the city was taking over the processing of the applications.

 Mayor Tom Carver said the main reason for the change was so the city would know what projects are taking place.

“Usually we are the last ones to find out when something is happening inside city limits,” he said.

Mayor Carver continued that having the city take a look at the application may also prevent issues or complications.

“We had a situation on 7th Street where the owner built a structure into the right away. If it had come here that never would have happened,” Mayor Carver said.

City attorney Mariah Dunham said the citizens would get an additional service by having the applications come to the city first.

“Someone in the city would be looking at the project and as the mayor pointed out the city can help troubleshoot anything else an individual might need,” Ms. Dunham said. “The idea is they would be getting more and things would be streamlined better.”

Mayor Carver said he would like to see the city have its own building inspector in the future. He said the city, in the meantime, cannot take on the extra workload of processing applications without compensation.

“I guess we can have the public hearing and see what the citizens have to say,” Mr. Saunders said.

In other business, the council approved setting a public hearing for an application for a vacation request for Eric and Karen Krier, who live on Boundary Loop. Portions of 19th Street that borders the Krier’s lot has already been vacated and only a smaller section remains. The public hearing was set for Sept. 23.

An exemption was approved by the council for Joe’s Bar to place tables and chairs outside the business, in the front and back, during Paul Bunyan Days weekend. The council also approved a catering permit and special exemption permit for the Grapple Haus to host Oktoberfest at the Cormana Building Sept. 28.

A pay request for HMH Engineering for $42,000 for relocating the utilities ahead of the Railroad Avenue project was tabled. The language on the work order was unclear. A pay request for HMH Engineering in the amount of $4,576.25 in connection with the sewer block grant was approved as well as a pay request for Walter Steed, who administered the grant, in the amount of $3,490.

Finally, two pay requests from HDR Engineering for preliminary work for Railroad Avenue were approved:  one for $10,999.61 and the second for $5,078.16.

Mayor Carver said the project is slated to be under construction in 2021.

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