Niagara Falls council okays hiking building permit fees by 3% in 2024

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Published October 11, 2023 at 1:24 pm

At last week’s Niagara Falls city council meeting, the report recommending building permit fees get hiked by three per cent starting in 2024 got the rubber stamp of approval.

In fact, the city report leaned heavily on the previously approved Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. study commissioned by the council that looked into “the adequacy of the current building permit fees.”

The Watson group studied the current building fee, as well as “propose new fees where warranted to achieve full cost recovery and also establish a robust reserve fund to weather economic downturns effectively.”

In the end, the Watson group came back with the three per cent permit hike, as well as creating a reserve balance for slower growth periods equal to 1.0 to 1.25 times the annual direct costs of service, meaning simply covering the costs of city employees devoted to the building department.

Said the staff report, “Their (Watson group) analysis assessed the actual costs for the City to deliver the building services permit program. The fee analysis includes all process-related work, as well as the operating and capital support costs to provide the service.”

At the meeting, Councillor Wayne Thompson agreed, adding the three per cent could help hire staff to ensure building permits are processed more quickly.

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