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City and county raise building permit fees starting May 1

Soon it will cost residents a little more to build in Thomson and McDuffie County. Both the city council and county commission recently approved a hike in building permit fees to compare to those in neighboring counties.

This was the first rate hike since 2003. It puts McDuffie's building permit fees higher than those in Lincoln and Richmond counties.

Officials felt since housing growth was moving from the direction of Columbia County, the fees should be similar to those in McDuffie's eastern neighbor to keep uniformity for builders.

"We're beginning to see some of the contractors from (Columbia County), and they're used to these fees," Planning and Zoning Director Fred Guerrant said during the March 7 commission meeting.

The flat fees for electrical, plumbing and mechanical went from $35 to $50. Permits for the principle structure went from seven to eight cents per square foot.

For officials, the increase represents needed funds in government coffers.

"The bottom line is it helps us offset county government revenues without putting it on the backs of property owners through a raise in the mill rate," said Commission Chairman Charlie Newton.

Also included in the fees are permits for new driveways. Public Works Director Chris Pelly commented to commissioners that he had to inspect driveways prior to and after installation to make sure the drain pipes will adequately handle runoff.

The new fee structure will take effect on May 1 to give builders time to factor the higher fees into their bids.

Web posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007

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