Bad Timing on County Permit Fee Hike

One has to wonder if the San Diego County Board of Supervisors actually get out of their offices and talk to their constituencies to see how things are going here in the real world. The decision to raise the building fees is unbelievable. With more and more businesses either closing or filing for bankruptcy and people losing their jobs or taking pay cuts, the Board of Supervisors boosted building permit fees around 8 percent over the next two years to cover a 3 percent pay increase and so the county’s land use and environmental group can recover the costs of staff time in reviewing and approving permits. Isn’t that part of their job?.

Three supervisors voted for the increase, including our own Dianne Jacob, who said she supported the increase to avoid lengthy delays. This reasoning doesn’t  make any sense. With the economy in the tank, there are far fewer permits being requested. And the people I know who are involved with construction say the permit process is only two to three weeks if you’re prepared. So while the rest of us do more with less, the county wants contractors and anybody else who takes out a permit to pay more and get the same service.

Now is not the time to raise rates to cover a pay increase for staff. How about keeping the rates the same or even lowering them a little and having the staff take a pay cut and be more efficient like the rest of us? Since the introduction of the TIF fees, new construction in Ramona has been pretty much at a standstill, even after they reduced the fess by 40 percent! And we wonder how California can be billions of dollars in debt. Here’s your answer: Government doesn’t want to work at being more efficient—it just throws money at it. The bigger the better.

Jeff Mitchell

   
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