City council approves hike in building fees
Developers will be paying more in excise taxes when building new structures. The City Council, at Monday's meeting, unanimously approved an increase in the excise tax rate from $0.05 per square foot to $.09 per square foot for any building permits for new construction. The ordinance passed by a 4-0 vote, with Council Member Ron Cranor not at the meeting.
City Administrator Mike Yanez suggested raising the tax to a round number, such as $.10 or $.15, but the council settled on the $.09 rate -- the same as Basehor.
"Basehor's just up the road," Mayor Dave Taylor said. "We're in competition."
Yanez said he would prefer a $.10 rate, but Council Member Steve Gumm disagreed. He said even a one-cent difference could be used as a marketing tool against Tonganoxie.
The new rate will take effect May 4, after the ordinance is published twice.
The council also unanimously approved new rates in planning commission fees, such as special-use and temporary-use permits site plans and zone-change requests -- with a zero amount for park fees.
Some new changes include a $100 fee for a site plan for buildings up to 5,000 square feet and $300 for buildings more than 5,000 square feet. Currently, the city doesn't charge for site plans. For a zone-change request, the city currently charges $100 for any zoning. In the future, it will cost $150 for up to an acre. For a larger area, such as 20.1 acres to 80, the fee is $1,000.
The fees are used to offset planning and zoning expenses.
The planning commission recommended the new fees, which will become effective Thursday. The fees last were increased in 1997.
In other business, the council:
- Accepted an award from the Kansas Contractors Association for the city's involvement in the wastewater treatment plant expansion. The $4.2 million plant was named the top project in the state in 2005 by the association's environmental and utilities division for excellence in public works.
- Waived a $15 sign fee for the Tonganoxie Friends Evangelical Church.
Yanez said he was concerned waiving the fee would set a bad precedent for the city.
"We've done it in the past," Taylor said.
Yanez disagreed with the policy.
"Could I ask that we stop making that the precedent and I'll pay the $15," Yanez. "I know I'm sounding sarcastic."
The council unanimously approved waiving the fee.
Members also waived a $175 building permit fee for the recreation commission regarding the shelter house it's building in Chieftain Park.
- Heard from Yanez about the weather radios the city will sell them for $29.51.
- Scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. May 4 in council chambers to discuss the city's comprehensive plan. The council will have a joint meeting with the planning commission. The meeting will be the third in a series led by representatives from Bucher, Willis and Ratliff, the city's planning firm.