The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening decided to hold-off on approving a request by the Cass County Fair Board, for the abatement of a building permit fee pertaining to the construction of a new Cattle Barn on the Cass County Fairgrounds. Mayor Dave Jones said the matter would come before the City’s Personnel and Finance Committee this (Thursday) evening at City Hall (beginning at 5:15), because there are some “loopholes” in the current City Ordinances that create an unfair pricing system for building permit fees that need to be addressed prior to the Council acting on abating a fee for the Cattle Barn. The current ordinance would require the non-profit Fair Board to pay a nearly $3,100 fee for a permit to construct the barn.
Mayor Jones says when the Ordinances were updated they passed a simple 30-cents per square foot building permit. The theory was that for a 10-thousand square foot building, the permit fee would be $3,000. The same principal applies to the construction of a building metal carport, which Zoning Administrator John Lund, the Mayor, and others, considers to be “exorbitant.”
Councilman Steve Livengood said he was on the Committee that established the prices for a building permit fee. Livengood said the decision to base the fee on square footage was not an easy one to make, but they wanted to ensure poorly constructed structures were being erected. He said it’s inequitable and they are currently looking for better ideas. Livengood said also he’s “Still a huge advocate of ‘If you pay the government some money, you should get something for it.’” Livengood said — referring to Atlantic’s Building Permit fee — “Quite honestly, you really don’t get much for a building permit, so you shouldn’t have to pay a lot for it, either.”
In other business, the Council set August 21st at 5:30-p.m. as the date and time for a public hearing the proposed Code of Ordinances. City Administrator Doug Harris said the Code was re-codified over the past 18-months, and is the first time that’s been done in 10-years. The new Code incorporates State and Legislative changes, changes made as part of the Model Code recommended by the Iowa Municipal League, and those made by the City itself.