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Tue., Oct. 6
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Louisville eyeing permit changes


LOUISVILLE - Code Enforcement Officer Anthony “Tony” McManaman presented a plan to town council members this week recommending changes for building permit fees.

Mr. McManaman said the town currently charges a base rate of $25 for building permits with an additional $1.25 charged for each $1,000 of value after $4,000. For commercial properties the base fee is currently $50, with the same $1.25 charged for each additional $1,000 of property value in excess of $4,000.

The new fees proposed by Mr. McManaman would keep the base fee at $25, however, change the way additional fees are calculated to basing those charges on square footage, rather than the value of the work being done.

“Pretty much everyone is charging by square foot,” he said. “Right now we have a confusing system. It’s easier to go by square feet.”

For new structures and additions the base fee of $25 applies with an additional 15 cents per square foot charged. For residential garages there is no base fee, with 10 cents per square foot charged. There is a minimum charge of $25.

For commercial properties the base fee remains $25, however the square footage charge is increased to 25 cents, the same fee applies to commercial garages, minus the base fee. For agricultural buildings, permit fees will be $25 and for handicap accessibility projects permits are needed but no fee will be charged.

Mr. McManaman explained the current way permit fees are calculated.

“The building permit fees we use now are based on so much per thousand of assumed assessed value,” he said. “It has a problem, in that, who determines the cost of construction and how. To make it fair and equitable, the fee should be based on per square foot.”

Councilwoman M. Gail Schneider agreed.

“When you have your plans, you know how many square feet your house is going to be,” she said.

Town Clerk Joanne Cameron also noted that the cost of construction, something most people were using to calculate permit fees, could also vary greatly depending on whether the work is done independently or by a contractor.

“If I’m building my own home, it’s not going to cost me as much,” she said. “If you take the same $100,000 in materials and have a contractor build it for you, it’s going to cost you $300,000 or more.”

Councilman Daniel O’Keefe said he would like to see the impact the new fees would have before deciding on whether to implement them.

“Let’s apply this to last year’s projects and see where we would come out,” he said.

Mr. McMananaman, who also serves as code enforcement officer in both the town and village of Waddington, said the village has already enacted the new fees, and he’s expecting the town to do the same next week.

Mr. McManaman, speaking the day after the meeting, said he went home after the session and figured that under his proposal the town would have received $600 in additional revenue last year.

“What I’m trying to do is recover some of our costs,” he said.

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