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Supervisors Expected to OK Permit, Fee Schedule Hikes

MADERA — Madera County supervisors are expected this week to OK a 2.7-percent across-the-board increase to the fee schedule the County charges for everything from development fees and building, grading and water well permits to fees for regular planning review services and commercial building valuations.

At their meeting on Tuesday, July 2, supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed fee hikes before voting on the revised schedules, which are slated to take affect as the County begins its 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The proposed 2019-20 increase would affect fee schedules used by the county’s Public Works Department, Environmental Health Division, Planning Division and a portion of the Building and Fire Safety Division.

The relatively modest fee increases are being driven by an upward adjustment in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a national measure meant to gauge inflation and the cost of living.

In August 2017, the board decided to adjust, on an annual basis, the County’s fee and permits schedules based on the CPI.

Under the 2019-2020 fiscal year CPI adjustment, the cost will also go up for fire permits and flat-rate permits.

The fee hikes will increase the cost of a wide range of building-related permits for residential and commercial construction as well as the price business owners, public entities and private individuals must pay for various County permits, applications and many other standard services.

The move in recent years to adjust the County’s fee schedule based on the CPI is a reflection of just how much Madera County’s economy has recovered since the Great Recession.

As recently as March 2014, the Madera County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend a two-thirds reduction in County permit fees through the remainder of that year. Those development-related permit fees had been reduced by 66.7 percent in September 2011 as part of an effort to boost the Madera County.

“It may not seem like that big a deal, but it means a lot,” District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler said at the time. “If we have high fees and nobody is getting any building permits for any kind of projects, you get no taxes, you get no jobs, you get nothing.”

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