Flushing Twp. board reduces, eliminates some inspector fees

FLUSHING TWP. — The Flushing Township Board of Trustees has overhauled the building department’s fee schedule, eliminating some costs and reducing others.

“We want people to build here,” said township Supervisor Frederick R. Thorsby. “We didn’t want them to shy away from building in Flushing Township because the fees were so high.”

The changes come on the heels of a board decision to end the township’s contract with SafeBuilt, Inc., which established the fee schedule two years ago, Thorsby said.

Township officials had no complaints with the way SafeBuilt performed the inspections, he said. However, many contractors and homeowners had complained about the fees.

“It was way more expensive to get a permit in Flushing Township than in Clayton Township or anyplace around here,” Thorsby said. “We studied it and studied it. The first year we had (SafeBuilt) we kind of let it run its course. The second year, we started looking at the fees and, to us, it looked like it was about double what it should be.”

The new fee schedule will cut the costs roughly in half.

“That was important, to get the fees down to a reasonable amount,” he said.

Some highlights of the changes include:

• Elimination of the fee for reviewing plans. Thorsby said the new building inspector, Robert Kehoe, does not charge extra for reviewing plans, so there is no reason for the township to charge the residents.

• Reduction of the demolition fee to a flat rate of $50.

The previous fee was based on property value and could go as high as $300.

• Reduction of the cost for registering a new contractor. The fee was set at $15, down from $25.

• Elimination of the fee for a temporary construction trailer.

“I don’t know why we’d charge someone for that,” said Thorsby.

The board also reduced the fee charged when the building inspector has to return to a site.

“If inspectors arrived at an appointed time but the contractor was not prepared, there was a charge (to return),” Thorsby said. “We reduced that to $50 but kept it in case someone abused it and made the inspectors repeatedly return. The new inspector said it’s OK to leave it in, but he said he never charges for re-inspection.”