City increases building permit fees, builders upset


City increases building permit fees, builders upset

MISSOULA, Mont. - If you're looking to build in the city of Missoula expect to pay more. 

Monday evening the Missoula City Council voted to increase a number of fees, including building permits, by 3 percent.

It may not sound like much, but we talked to the owner of one local construction company who told us the increase is a big deal when permits can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Al Anderson started Anderson Construction nearly 40 years ago.  Monday afternoon we caught up with him to find out how the building permit increase will affect his business.

"Militate against the building or a project going together and when that happens fewer people are employed," he said.  

Anderson tells us he thinks building permits are already too costly. 

"A few years back we got a permit for a sewer and that was $13,000," said Anderson. 

NBC Montana did the math and found an increase of 3 percent on that bill would mean Anderson would have to pay an additional $390 for the same permit. 

We wanted to know why the fees are going up.  City finance director Brent Ramharter tells us the increase is necessary if the city is going to have a balanced budget.

"Everybody's costs go up and so do ours," said Ramharter.  "We're just kind of like a household only very big."

Ramharter tells NBC Montana fee increases are expected to bring in an additional $80,000.

But for Anderson that 3-percent increase hurts his business.

"It's going to affect me, my crew and my bottom line," said Anderson.  "People have abandoned projects because of the rules and regulations and fees."

Anderson tells us he's going to think twice before putting in for larger building projects.

"Eventually all taxes affect everyone and not in a good way," he said. 

A number of other city fees and permits like business, planning, and municipal court fees are increasing by 3 percent as well. For a full list click here.

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