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Sylacauga introduces simpler permit fee system with stimulated growth in mind

SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Sylacauga is hoping to encourage commercial growth with a new city ordinance that amends pre-existing permit fees.

The amendments make fees cheaper by introducing a flat rate for all building, electrical, plumbing, fuel, mechanical, swimming pools, signs, fire alarm and fire suppression systems contracts.

“We have amended the cost of permits,” Code Enforcement Director Mike Whetstone said. “They have been reduced by roughly 50 percent on small jobs, generally a $100,000 to $300,000 house. It’s progressive the more the job costs.”

Additionally, a uniform formula for calculating the cost of permits has been introduced, whereas the previous calculations for the majority of permits were different depending on the type. The ordinance is designed to simplify the process in acquiring a permit.

When it is all said and done, the underlying cause for the change is to encourage simplicity for owners and contractors.

“The city council just wanted to do something to help stimulate growth,” Whetstone said.

For contracts with valuations of $5,000 or less, the fee amount will be $40. For contracts with valuations of $5,001 and more, the fee will be calculated with the $40 flat fee plus .025% of the total value of the contract.

“It’s fair, it’s even, it’s the same for everybody,” Whetstone said. “From the person that needs to put a $2,000 shed in their backyard to the person that is doing a $20 million job.”

Furthermore, it is now possible to get a full refund on permit fees in certain circumstances.

Whetstone explained if the contractor that bought the permit never started any work on the job, then a full refund can be applied for.

These changes were adopted during the June 18, 2019 council meeting.

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