Building permit fee goes to ballot |

Building permit fee goes to ballot

A $400 increase in the tax on a new housing permit to pay for road maintenance will go before voters in November.

On May 3, Douglas County commissioners approved placing an initiative on the ballot to increase building permit fees.

Technically, the tax is for the privilege of engaging in new real property development.

The county has charged $500 per single-family dwelling or apartment since 1997.

There is also a 50-cent per square foot tax on nonresidential development, that would be increased to 90 cents per square foot.

“This is something I think the voters have asked for and we’re doing it at the request of the residents,” Commissioner Barry Penzel said.

Should voters approve the question the tax could be implemented in the first quarter of 2019. It would increase again on July 1, 2020, to $1,000 for a home or apartment and $1 per square foot for nonresidential property.

Commissioners also approved advertising for members of committees to write the arguments for and against the ballot measure, which will appear on the ballot.

“There is a real nexus between the new development and the number of cars on the road,” Commissioner Nancy McDermid said.

Commissioner Larry Walsh asked how voters could be assured the money would be used for roads.

Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadlé said state law requires the money be spent for roads and transportation projects.

■ Commissioners approved dissolving Redevelopment Area No. 1 on Thursday.

The redevelopment area was formed in 1997 to increase Douglas County’s sales tax collections.

At the time, it appeared the state might stop subsidizing counties that didn’t raise enough sales tax on their own.

During its tenure, it provided infrastructure for the shopping centers along Highway 395.