Culver Awaits Full Council Attendance for Permit Fees Vote

culver-town-hallThe Town of Culver may be waiting on full attendance from its board before taking a proposed permit fee ordinance to a first reading.

Culver is considering changing the way it calculates the fees applied to building permits. As opposed to a flat fee, Culver has spent weeks researching the possibility of implementing a value based model. That system is more commonly used in the Northwest Indiana Region, but would also raise the price of Culver’s permits.

Those in attendance during a meeting last week spoke out strongly against the measure. Culver Town Manager Jonathan Leist says the Council indicated its desire to have more members present before a vote, but that could mean additional efforts.

“What we would do is go back through the same process that got it here,” says Leist. “It would go back to Plan Commission and let them come up with another proposal with feedback from Council. If they were to vote against the proposal they have now, then they would send it back to Plan Commission to come up with a new one.”

The Town Council tabled the ordinance following a public hearing last week. Once the measure comes back, it will head for an up-or-down vote.

Possible amendments to the ordinance at the Council level have been discouraged by Town Attorney Jim Clevenger according to Leist.

Among those speaking last week, officials with Marshall County made arguments for simply revamping the price to cover Culver’s level of service while compensating the county for the use of their building inspector. Leist says it’s not quite that simple.

“And that was true for the year 2014 – which was a pretty good building year for us as far as: permit fees collect,” says Leist. “There were several years in the last five or six here that wouldn’t have been the case. Where, we wouldn’t have had enough income to pay our part-time Building Commissioner’s salary and pay the fees that the county is starting.”

Despite the strong criticism during last week’s meeting, Culver says it has received comments from local contracts indicating they are comfortable with the value model.

Leist says Council members have been given information about the ordinance with discussions anticipated to continue in the near future.