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Council raises fees, reappoints board members

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, May 18, 2013

At its meeting Monday evening, the Decatur City Council updated the city’s fee schedule for inspections plan review, code enforcement, household hazardous waste disposal and water tap regulators.

They also appointed members to seven city boards or commissions.

The big-ticket item was the fee charged to those doing new construction, remodels, repairs, additions or finish-outs, who submit their plans for the city’s inspection department to review.

The initial review currently costs 30 percent of the cost of the building permit, which is based on the value of the project.

Under the old charges, every successive review of the plans – termed a “resubmittal” – generated another $100 charge.

The new policy will be to make the first resubmittal free. Every resubmittal after that will be charged the initial 30 percent of the building permit.

“We’re trying to discourage multiple reviews,” Dedra D. Ragland, the city’s planning director, told the council. “Some people submit just to see if they got it right.”

Ragland said the policy is designed to encourage people to get professional drawings done by an architect or engineer who knows the codes and “gets it right” the first time.

“A lot of times, they’re just being lazy,” she said. “They want us to tell them what’s wrong with their plans.”

Surprisingly, she noted, the worst offenders are not “mom-and-pop” remodelers, but corporate builders who have plenty of money but have figured out that it’s cheaper to let the city review plans at $100 a pop than it is to hire engineers.

That’s why it was suggested a second review be free. The third and fourth, however, will cost.

OTHER CHANGES

The council also approved:

  • filing a lien with the County Clerk’s office on property found to be in violation of codes, if that action is needed to recover fees, penalties or expenses;
  • a $50 fee for the voucher required for city residents to dispose of household hazardous waste at the city of Fort Worth’s collection facility, located at 6400 Bridge St. just off Interstate 30 and Loop 820 east of downtown;
  • raising the price of a regulator for a 1.5-inch water tap from $250 to $475, and for a 2-inch water tap from $350 to $575, simply because the cost of regulators has gone up.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS

A raft of appointments – mostly reappointments of those currently serving – came up because many of the terms expire at the end of May. The council named:

  • Mayor Martin Woodruff to the Economic Development Corp. (EDC) board for another two-year term, to expire May 31, 2015. Woodruff, who recused himself during the vote, is one of three members of the five-member board who are city council members, as stipulated by the EDC’s bylaws;
  • Jerry Watson and J.E. Carson to the Housing Authority board, with terms expiring June 1, 2015. Watson was named chairman of the board;
  • Andrew Sandford to the EDC board, with a term to expire June 1, 2015;
  • Troy Bagwell, Joe Neil Henderson and Betty Carson to the Library Board, terms to expire June 1, 2015;
  • Cody Burkheart and Thomas Lambert to the Parks Board, terms to expire June 1, 2015;
  • Roy Eaton and Jay Davidson to the Civic Center Advisory Board, terms to expire June 1, 2015;
  • Chris Forbis, Steve Simms, Phil Reicheneker and Nola Cocanougher to the Main Street Advisory Board, with terms to expire June 1, 2015.

Davidson recused himself during the vote on the Civic Center Advisory Board, and Woodruff stepped out again for the Main Street Advisory Board appointments, as two of those appointed are relatives.

All were approved unanimously.

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