Philomath City Hall
Philomath City Hall (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The first Benton County building permit program fee increase since 2009 appears to be on the horizon. Philomath contracts with the county to provide plan review and inspection services for the program through an intergovernmental agreement.

As such, the Philomath City Council will vote on a resolution to increase fees for building permits, which includes structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and miscellaneous permits.

Prior to a resolution vote, a public hearing will take place during the Dec. 14 City Council meeting.

Ron Dettrich serves as the building official for Benton County and as part of the IGA, also for Philomath.

“We’re proposing approximately a 15% increase for mechanical, electrical and plumbing permits, and a 2% increase on structural permits,” Dettrich told the Philomath City Council at its Nov. 9 meeting. “The reason for the difference — evaluations are increased annually for structural permits and this would be an attempt to somewhat align the increase on structural permits with our mechanical, plumbing and electrical permits.”

County staff based the increase on statutory allowances and the International Construction Cost Index rates since 2009.

The 2009 increase did not go into effect until Jan.1, 2010. If this increase moves forward on schedule, it will likely not go into effect until Feb. 1.

“The inflation rate for the last 10 years is approximately 19.4%,” Dettrich said. “This would be less than the inflation rate … It would align us a little closer with the city of Albany and the city of Corvallis.”

Dettrich added that the increased rate would still be about 20% below the Corvallis rate and just slightly higher than the Albany rate, although he said Albany has not adjusted its fees in quite some time with a likely adjustment in the near future.

Through the IGA, Philomath retains 30% of permit fees that are collected. The county receives 70% for structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and miscellaneous permits. The program only applies to building permits and does not affect planning fees.

Dettrich plans to be at the Dec. 14 public hearing to answer questions.

The council approved the public hearing date on a 7-0 vote on a motion by Councilor Matt Lehman and seconded by Councilor Doug Edmonds. City staff will prepare a draft resolution that could be considered for approval on the same evening.