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Bad housing market affects the way town charges fees

The problems in housing industry prices are also affecting the decisions of local units of government, the town of Hudson found out.

Not to mention their building inspectors.

Town Board members recently amended the fee schedule for permits issued by their inspector, Brian Wert, to reflect the fact that the housing market has changed and home values have dropped, and keep the rates in line with that dip.

Some have said that the fees should be based on a straight-percentage formula of the value of the house that's being evaluated. Others chime in that the amount should be based on the time the inspector needs to devote, even if that means a higher rate than using the formula.

Wert noted that these days, it often takes more time and more gas money to do his job, since there are fewer houses to inspect at any one time and you can rarely hit more than one on a single trip.

Chairman Jeff Johnson said that even if the formula would charge something like one-third-percent of the value, it can still be costly. He added that when municipalities began charging high amounts in this way during the housing boom, it caused the state Legislature to outlaw impact fees as a way of raising revenue.

This is the new fee schedule:

  • Unfinished from $10 to $20;
  • Finished from $15 to $20;
  • First floor from $100 to $150;
  • Garage $20;
  • Porch $20;
  • Deck $15. This increase may be in lieu of gas surcharges through $4 per gallon.

    The board also OK'd a request from Kathy Hamman for a home-based dog grooming business at 778 Hill Farm Road, as long as the operator retains ownership of both of the two abutting parcels.

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