Royal Oak Waits on Waiving Permit Fees, Vote in October

Royal Oak Waits on Waiving Permit Fees, Vote in Octoberwaterwork

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 23, 2104)

The Royal Oak City Commission has not yet decided if they will waive building permit fees for residents impacted by the Aug. 11 flooding. Clawson, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Oak Park have given windows of opportunities for residents to repair their hot water tanks, furnaces and to do other flood-related repairs without charging the fees. Berkley has formed a citizens committee to discuss it. At their Sept. 15 Commission meeting, Royal Oak representatives sent the topic back to staff for further review and discussion.

Fees in neighboring communities run generally between $35 and $150, depending on the work being done. Fees help cover the cost of inspection, which protects the homeowner from the risk of fire and equipment failure due to improper installation.

City Attorney David Gillam looked into the legality of the city waiving such fees. The concern was in using money nicholas-schrock-allstatefrom the General Fund to reimburse the Building Department for the fees, because they are separate funds. “The City does have the authority if the Commission wants, to use general fund monies to subsidize a reduction or partial waiver in building permit fees,” Gillam said. He said the Supreme Court gave latitude in this use of public funds in time of “calamity.”

Mayor Jim Ellison expressed concern that if there were a window of time for fees to be waived, people might take advantage of it whether they were impacted by the flood or not. The City has reported that residents had a combined total of over $120 million in property damage as a result of the storm.

Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle supported sending it back to staff for further exploration. “This is something Jim Shaffer KELLER ad blackwe’re paying out of the General Fund so it’s important to see what we’re paying. We want to help residents but we also have to be judiciaries for the city, and determine what kind of hit this is going to be for the General Fund if we do this.”

Building Official Jason Craig said the requests the city is getting are for “hot water heaters, furnaces, electrical service and basements.” The Oakland County 115 News Hub has requested the number of permits that have been pulled since the flood, and this story will be updated when that information is available.

The sidebar01sponsornext Royal Oak City Commission meeting is Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:30pm. For more on the City of Royal Oak visit

For previous stories on cities waiving permits, see:

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