Harwich Selectmen Approve Increases in Building Fees Up to 57-Percent

HARWICH – Building fees will be increasing by as much as 57-percent this year in Harwich.

Town Building Commissioner Ray Chesley received the 55 to 57-percent increase in building fees he requested from selectmen last month.

Selectmen approved the increases in a 4-to-1 vote, with Selectman Michael MacAskill providing the lone no-vote. The fee increases go into effect on February 1.

“I think there’s a misnomer that the revenue the town receives covers the costs, or at least a major cost, of the building department. Looking at this thing that’s not quite true,” Chesley said.

He reported to selectmen that the total revenue collected from building permits in fiscal year 2018 was $282,646 with department costs at $614,552.

“There’s quite a big difference between what our revenue was and the cost to run the department,” Chesley said.

“I looked at the split between running the department for building permit activities and building code activities and then for safety activities and zoning and that type of thing that’s specific to the town. Roughly, I estimated it’s about a 15-percent town cost and 85-percent our cost is to actually run the department and enforce state building code.”

The increases would bring the town $443,754 in permit revenue in fiscal year 2019. Chesley says the last time fees were raised it was only by 5-percent in 2011.

Most notably, the fee for all construction, additions and alterations will rise from $50 to $70. The fee for constructing a one or two-family home rises from $55 to $75, and fees for re-inspections or replacements of boiler or water heaters will go up from $35 to $65.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod,com News Center

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