Commissioners to consider fee schedule

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 7, 2011

By Karissa Minn
County commissioners will discuss several budget-related ideas Monday, including raising permit fees and asking tax-exempt nonprofits to make donations of their own.
The meeting of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners will be held at 3 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Rowan County Administration Building.
Dana Hart, the county’s new building code enforcement director, said the fee schedule for Rowan County building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits is “antiquated” compared to five surrounding counties.
Hart said fee schedules are much higher in Davie, Iredell, Davidson, Cabarrus and Davie counties. They also are provided in a printable and web-based version, which the county does not have.
“The Building Code Enforcement Department proposes to adopt a new fee schedule structure that will make the county’s fees comparable to surrounding counties and further develop the customer relations for the department,” Hart wrote. “The fee schedule will not only bring in more revenue for the county but will increase the department’s ability to be self-sufficient once again.”
Instead of requesting quotes for permit fees and waiting for them to be calculated, customers will be able to get their own quotes with the new tax schedule.
In addition, the board will discuss Monday the possibility of starting a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program with nonprofit groups.
In this program, nonprofit agencies would make voluntary or negotiated contributions to the county to help pay for services and buildings they use while exempt from property taxes. Total fees would range from 10 percent to 65 percent of the normal tax base, depending on the type of exemption and probability of profit.
County documents show that in 2006, the value of all excluded and exempt property in the county totaled $1.3 billion. By the end of 2010, that total was $1.9 billion.
Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners plan to:
• Consider a declaration of official intent to reimburse expenditures for the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College bond.
The board will hear a report on the financial timeline for planned capital improvements to the college. It will then decide whether to borrow $12 million at once; $5.3 million this year and $6.7 million next year; or $3 million in 2011, $6.7 million in 2012 and $2.3 million in 2013.
• Hear an update on the first year’s service of the interim South Rowan peak time ambulance.
Commissioners then will discuss whether to continue the existing agreement with the Rowan County Rescue Squad to provide the service and establish a formal contract, provide a similar peak time service using added county EMS resources or provide an additional 24-hour ambulance unite to the county EMS division.
• Discuss government-owned rented properties and consider a resolution supporting Senate bill DR55281-LM89, “Level Playing Field/Cities/Service Providers.”
The resolution requests that the General Assembly add language requiring all government-owned buildings that are leased or rented to have a triple net lease or rental agreement. This would require the lessee to pay taxes, insurance and maintenance in addition to rent.
• Consider a ban on the use of tobacco products on the campuses of the county health and social services departments.
• Consider a request from HS&E Inc. for an extension to its 2006 temporary use permit for continued remediation of a 2002 petroleum release at the former Craven’s Exxon station, located at 7565 Bringle Ferry Road.
• Hear an update regarding a variance request from Blandy Hardwoods.
• Consider approval of a resolution to renew the county’s participation in the Cabarrus/Iredell/Rowan HOME Consortium.
• Vote on a second reading of amendments to the farmland preservation ordinance.
• Discuss topics not heard at the Feb. 16 work session.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.