Public comment sought on new fees

Published: Saturday, February 28, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — Town officials are considering raising building fees, and residents will have the chance to comment on the proposal at a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Nathanael B. Greene Community Center.

The move is part of an effort to boost the town budget in the wake of a steep decline in building permit applications, Finance Director Sheila Villano said.

The town issued 35 building permits last month, down from 95 in January 2008, Villano said.

“In light of the decline in local revenues, we asked all the departments if they could take a look at areas where they could possibly consider raising fees,” she said. “We’ve always been very, very low compared to our surrounding towns on the building permit fees.”

The proposal would raise the fees for new residential construction to 60 cents per square foot of gross living space, from the current 50 cents. Commercial fees would be set at $12 for every $1,000 of construction, up from $10 per $1,000. Some fees for a certificate of occupancy also would increase, depending on the type of construction.

“We’re still on the low end” compared to other Shoreline towns, Villano said.

Town Building Director George Gdovin compared Guilford’s fees with 15 nearby towns, arriving at the proposed rates. The Board of Selectmen is scheduled to vote on an ordinance increasing the fees at Monday’s meeting.

Villano said she is now projecting that the town will collect $350,000 in building fees the fiscal year ending June 30, a decline of $500,000 from her original projection when the budget was being prepared last year. That is partly because the developers of Guilford Commons have pushed back some work until later in the next fiscal year.

“The activity is definitely way off from where we were last year,” she said.

More information on the proposal is available on the town’s Web site, www.ci.guilford.ct.us.

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