GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - Construction costs continue to be at high levels due in part to a steep increase in the price of lumber, and now home builders in one Lowcountry community could see another cost rise.
The city of Georgetown is considering increasing building and permit fees. While it’s a tricky time for home builders, Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber, Sr. said local contractors have told him they understand the position the town is in.
The last time Georgetown increased its permit fees was in 2007, and currently they fall below other nearby communities like Myrtle Beach and Conway.
As part of the current budget process, city staff members recommended an increase since fees currently only cover around 40% of the Building and Permit division’s budget. That leaves the city at a deficit of around $140,000 that has to be filled by money from the general fund.
“After that assessment by our staff in building and planning, they got together with the local builders to say, ‘Hey look, we need to do an increase because we haven’t done one for several years and here’s the reason,’ and in meeting with the local contractors, they thought everything was in line,” Barber said.
Fee increases would be based on value. A new construction home worth the average $189,782.56 would see costs for permit, plan review and zoning fees increase by $360 to $1,825.
Alterations totaling $18,731.20 on an existing home would see permit fees increase by $34.50 to $341.50.
The plan could bring in around 13% more revenue for the building and planning department, which the city said would allow it to use general fund money on other projects.
The council is reviewing the plan Tuesday during its budget workshop. It’s expected to be included in the city’s 2021-2022 budget which takes effect July 1.