Opp to revisit new fees

Published 12:03 am Saturday, February 2, 2013

Local contractors and builders voiced their concerns over the city’s new fee and permit schedule and the new building codes to Opp Mayor John Bartholomew in a two-hour meeting Friday night.

More than 50 attended the meeting held at the Opp Senior Center on Brantley Street.

The city council voted 3-2 at its Jan. 14 meeting in favor of the adopting the International Code Council and instituting a new fee schedule, which had not been updated since 1976.

Council members T.D. Morgan and Mary Brundidge were against the measure.

At the same meeting, the council unanimously appointed Phillip Forsberg as the city’s new building inspector.

Under the passed building schedule, contractors would pay a fee based on the value of the project for all projects over $1,000.

For example, a $200,000 home requires an origination fee of $450 and $3 per $1,000 over the first $100,000. Total cost would be $750.

Plus, contractors would also pay a fee for inspections.

At Friday’s meeting, Bartholomew told the contractors they “were building (the new system) from the ground, and we need to work together. There will be humps in the road and we need to move the humps together.”

The general consensus from the contractors was that they did not have issues with inspections from someone who knows theirs jobs, and implied the new inspector does not.

They also expressed that they felt the new fee schedule was too high for them and the homeowners.

After much discussion, everyone agreed on the following:

• A $50 flat fee for jobs of more than $1,000, plus 10 cents per square foot on the project area that is under the roof. The fee includes inspections;

• There will be a master permit and subcontractors must be licensed but will work under the contractors.

• $15 re-inspection fee for projects that fail to meet the code.

• All services such as electrical and plumbing will require a $50 permit fee, which includes the inspection, as well.

The new schedule will have to be brought before the Opp City Council.

Four-out-of-five council members were in attendance.

Bobby Ray Owens, Mike Booth and Brundidge said they needed to “sleep on it, and have more discussion at Monday night’s meeting.”

Morgan said he was OK with these changes.

Additionally, the contractors expressed that they wanted a qualified inspector – someone who knows the business.

“A man cannot know in his mind concrete, electrical and plumbing,” Bartholomew said. “That’s why we have manuals.”

Bartholomew asked the contractors “to unite and bring a foot forward. We are protecting you, the contractors, and the homeowner under the new code.”