County building fees increased, Angius only ‘no’ vote

KINGMAN – Supervisor Hildy Angius wasn’t the only one who felt ambushed by an item on Monday’s agenda for the Board of Supervisors that would increase fees for services provided through Mohave County’s building code.

The board voted 3-1, with Angius opposed, to adopt an ordinance setting new fees, fee increases and fee restructuring. The last fee increases were in 2007.

The new ordinance increases fees for planning, zoning and subdivision entitlements, and changes the structure for automation fees.

Bob Bass, a prominent member of the Kingman-Golden Valley Association of Realtors, said he texted nine contractors who were unaware of the fee increases.

“It does take me by surprise,” he said. “Asking a $3,400 fee is detrimental to projects. Appraisals are just not coming in. Appraisals are falling. If those permit fees affect building, they will also affect your budget.”

Major changes in the general plan amendments will go from $1,000 to $3,900, and minor changes will go from $500 to $800. Site plan reviews will now cost $775, up from $500. Subdivision plans are jumping to $2,600 from $1,750. And a temporary travel trailer will cost $350 a year, compared with $50.

Those are just a few areas where the fees are going up.

Angius said she wasn’t sure the building community was aware of the fee increases and wanted to know how much revenue the county had brought in from past projections.

In 2014, Mohave County Development Services began working with the Office of Management and Budget and the Finance Department to identify a fee structure that captures 100 percent of the cost of processing applications instead of the 25 percent to 60 percent typically recouped with current fees.

“What we’ve done is actually caught up,” said Tim Walsh, director of Development Services. “This fee allows us to hire new personnel for improved service. We shoot for an expedited turnaround (of plans) within one week or soon after.”

Supervisor Angius wanted to compromise on the new fees and put them off until further discussion with the people who will be paying them.

“The county is going to put more fees on building and these fees are substantial,” she said. “About 16 are brand new fees. I think it warrants more conversation.”

Walsh agreed that the increases are “substantial,” but mentioned there haven’t been any increases in eight years.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, made up of local contractors, was in general in support of the fee increases, but was interested in phased increases and wanted more frequent reviews in the future.