To help spur economic development, Sarasota County is proposing a drop in building fees.
“We thought we would do our small part to try to stimulate the economy,” said Rob Lewis, executive director for planning and development services.
Lewis is preparing for the County Commission a plan that would reduce various building fees by 10%, which target both large-scale commercial builders and individual homeowners looking to make small home improvements. (See chart below).
The planning and development services department operates solely on the fees it collects, not on the county’s general operating fund. In the past three years, 70 employees have been laid off from that department, which has resulted in lower operating costs.
Lewis said because those costs have dropped, he is able to pass along savings to the public.
“We are 58% the size we used to be,” he said. “We’ve dramatically cut costs.”
John Cannon, owner of John Cannon Homes Inc., said although the normal building fees aren’t exorbitant, every dollar helps.
“I think it’s terrific news,” he said.
Cannon believes the reduction could serve a greater purpose by letting people outside the community know that Sarasota County is business friendly.
“A lot of businesses have looked at Sarasota as a difficult place to do business,” said Cannon.
The County Commission is expected to vote on the reduction proposal March 19.
Fee 2009 collection 10% savings
Building permits $3,525,040 $352,504
Contractor licensing $138,916 $13,892
Certificate of occupancy $154,588 $15,459
Review of plans $766,360 $76,636
Savings by building type
Commercial or residential Building type Value 10% savings
Commercial Small office building $490,000 $255
Commercial Addition $1 million $1,250
Commercial Interior renovation $190,000 $205
Residential New home $270,000 $230
Residential New townhouse $114,000 $115
Residential Addition $80,000 $160
Residential Renovation $80,000 $115