Gulfport Leaders Consider Lower Building Fees - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport Leaders Consider Lower Building Fees

Under the current structure the City of Gulfport charges the highest building fees when compared with other municipalities along the coast. The administration endorses a plan to reduce those costs by a third.

"So, if we eliminate the plans review fee, reduce the permit fee by 21 percent, that will put us right in the middle of this survey. And that's what we're recommending," said urban development director Larry Jones, as he addressed a special meeting of the city council.

The current building fee of $1509.00 on a $150,000 home, would be reduced to around $953 under the proposal.

The lower fees would apply to homeowners, after the Katrina waiver expires 18 months after the storm. It will also apply to commercial construction.

City council member Ella Holmes-Hines offered one suggestion: Reducing electrical permit fees also, since many older homes need re-wiring.

"We want to make sure that they are not going to let that fee cause them not to overhaul that home. Because electrical fires are a big deal all over the nation," she said.

Although the review of building permit fees was prompted by the rebuilding after the hurricane, Mayor Brent Warr says the issue reaches beyond storm recovery. He says the city needs to be an inviting place for people wanting to build new homes and businesses.

"Not only will it help people and encourage them to rebuild after the storm, but it will also help us continue to improve the way we're perceived to be. We want to be pro business and pro development," Mayor Warr said.

The city council is expected to vote on the new fee structure next Tuesday.

The plan review fee would be eliminated under the proposal. That cost was normally paid up front before construction began. Under the new proposal, the applicant would pay only half of the building fee up front.

By Steve Phillips

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