by Tara Walker Grand Gazette BOCC reporter
Four Grand County departments brought fee increases proposals to the Board of County Commissioners for approval on October 17.
Clerk and Recorder implements convenience fees for driver’s licenses and copies
Grand County Clerk and Recorder requested fees increases for 2018 budget. One example is that the copy fee is currently free, but will be increased to $5 (.25 per page plus a $5 per document). Online access is $100, but other counties are significantly higher. An example was given for perspective. Garfield county charges $200 a month for online access to documents and Grand County would be $100 per year by comparison.
In addition, a convenience fee for issuing a driver’s license would increase from 0 to $10 and from 0 to $10 for drive tests. Thirty percent of drive tests and many office visits are from out of county individuals. The fee would help defray those costs.
Commissioner Manguso disagreed with the fee raises, particularly for the online document access, “We are a taxing entity. I feel like we are nickel and diming the public for a few extra dollars. I think these public services help people and individuals find information when they are trying to purchase a home. I am not in favor of charging in this case.” Manguso voted against the Clerk and Recorder fee increases while Cimino and Linke voted for the increases.
Sheriff Office fees increased
The Sherriff’s Office also proposed fee increases that were unanimously approved by the commissioners. An example would include the contract security rates, which will go from $55 an hour to $60 per hour. The UPS fee will increase from $100 to $200. Sheriff Schroetlin explained that the fees were well below the costs that it takes for the department to perform these services.
EMS fees increase 10%
EMS proposed fee increases by around 10% in general. One example of this is that the back-country response fee increased from $275 to $300. $302.23 was initially requested, but was rounded to $300 for better convenience to customers. Chief Jennings explained that fees are needing to be increased especially as Medicaid and Medicare payments are decreasing so more fees are needed to fill that gap. All commissioners approved the EMS proposed fee increases.
Plan review fee increases in building department
Grand County Community Development requested building fee increases to better establish a more uniform fee structure that would be similar to the towns of Winter Park, Fraser and Granby. They also wanted to ensure that the department is collecting revenue that would better match the costs that are incurred to provide services to the community.
The increase in building fees varies from 35% to 43% depending on the square footage of the building. Many builders and contractors spoke up in support of the fee increases and noted that fees have not increased for a long time and if it could help with quicker turn around and process, they are supportive. Multiple contractors and builders also gave public comments that they liked the idea of a standardized fee schedule that would simplify things county-wide.
Interestingly, it is the proposed plan review fee that increases the overall building fees – the proposed building permits fees are being lowered. This takes into consideration time spent reviewing plans for homes that may not actually be built.
Commissioners Cimino and Linke supported the fee increase, while Manguso voted against it.
This increase affects unicorporated Grand County, Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs and Grand Lake.
Winter Park, Fraser and Granby share their own building inspections.
The proposed fees listed below were approved –