Council approves hike in fees

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 13, 2005

AHOSKIE – It was a simple matter of keeping the bottom line balanced here Tuesday.

Faced with rising costs associated with requests for rezoning and variance/conditional use permits, members of the Ahoskie Town Council were in unified agreement to offset those expenses with a hike in associated town fees.

Interim Town Manager Evelyn Howard, who also serves as the town’s Finance Officer, informed Council members that, on average, the service fees linked to rezoning, variance/conditional use requests are more than double what the town currently charges.

Howard cited increases in advertising costs and postage as reasons behind her plea for a hike in fees charged by the town. In addition, the town is required to pay $15 for each Planning Board member that attends a meeting regarding such requests. If the full 12-member board is in attendance, the cost to the town is $180.

Currently, the town charges $100 for a rezoning request. The fee stands at $40 for a variance request and $75 for a request regarding a conditional use permit.

&uot;As Finance Officer, I feel it is my duty to inform you of this situation,&uot; Howard said. &uot;I would like to request that the governing board consider raising fees for rezoning and variance/conditional use requests.&uot;

Howard suggested a flat fee of $200 for each request, whether for rezoning or for variance/conditional use permits.

In her request, Howard cited examples of what the town spent in two recent rezoning requests. She said one cost the town $223 ($106 for advertising, $12 for postage and $105 for the attendance of seven Planning Board members. Another was priced at $227.50 ($107.50 for advertising, $15 for postage and $105 for the Planning Board).

The postage is necessary to notify, by mail, all property owners with parcels connected to the area in question.

&uot;I know these examples exceed $200 and they will not fully cover all our costs, but the variance/conditional use requests amount to approximately $170 each, which should offset the difference,&uot; Howard noted.

Prior to a motion being offered on the matter, Town Councilman Ronald Gatling stressed that he and his colleagues needed to look at all fees charged by the town.

Gatling then offered a motion to accept Howard’s recommendation and the measure passed unanimously.