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Hudson updates building permit fees

Construction continues on Hudson High School. With an approved change to the building permit fee schedule, the project was approved for a reduction in what it owes to the city for its permit. File photo

Hudson Common Council approved updates to the building permit fee schedule that were prompted by a request from the Hudson School District as it undertook its middle school and high school project.

The update reduces the multiplier for larger projects, meaning the city will collect less on permits on projects that cost more than $30 million.

Hudson Building Inspector David Gray said the fee had not been changed in the 17 years he has worked with the city. The last update was in 1999.

Gray said the new schedule fits with the industry's current methodology, and is not a special rate for the school district. He said he was confident lowering the fees for these projects would not disadvantage the city.

The permit fees are not designed to make a profit, Gray said. City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick explained they are meant to pay for the cost of administrative work on that permit.

"The city has a right and obligation to update its fee schedule," Munkittrick said. "That's what's happening."

Mayor Rich O'Connor said this update was one of the first items Community Development Director Mike Johnson wanted to review when he joined the staff last year, as it was outdated.

"There certainly is a lot of thought and work that went into this," O'Connor said.

Following approval of the fee change, the council also approved changes to the school district's fee.

Under the existing schedule, the school had about $123,000 left to pay in addition to the about $94,000 that has already been paid. With the new fee schedule applied, the council approved a new balance of $41,587.62 for the district.

At the time the fee was presented, Gray said the school verbally contested it. A progress payment was then set up until city staff had a chance to do a thorough review of the fee schedule.

During public comment, Greg Sarno expressed concern that other companies that have completed large projects in the past would be coming back if they know the school district had the new fee schedule applied.

Munkittrick said the school district project is still in process, unlike past projects where the permits have been paid and all work has been completed.

O'Connor said he wasn't sure if this change went far enough. He said the city could revisit the policy to see if other taxing authorities should have to pay any fees, saying it was like "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

Both the update to the fee schedule and the change to the district's fees were approved unanimously.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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