Council to review all City fees

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

A month after the Liberty Hill City Council voted to raise its planning and platting fees, city leaders will take a closer look at all other fees.

Mayor Rick Hall, at the Aug. 30 meeting about the planning fees, asked Director of Planning Sally McFeron to bring information on the City’s other fees to the Sept. 23 meeting.

The new and increased fees for planning and platting were passed in response to tighter restrictions handed down by the Texas Legislature on the permitting process, including a new 30-day timeline for approval of plats and plans.

The Council also decided at the same meeting to add a new certified planner to the staff.

Among other area cities, only Georgetown chose to increase its fees. Round Rock, Leander and Cedar Park chose to maintain the current fee structure.

“I don’t want to be the highest one on the board, but I don’t want to be the lowest,” Hall said of the new fee structure. “I want to be in that competitive area. As a growing city, once one major thing hits everything else is going to fall right around us, so we want to be competitive in doing that because the more development we get the tighter that 30-day window is going to seem because instead of doing two or three plans a month we could be doing 20 to 30 plans a month.”

Three new fees were approved, a $250 pre-development meeting fee, a $500 completeness review fee and a site development plan amendment fee of $500. A major construction plan revision, which had no fee attached previously, will now be 50 percent of the full application fee.

In addition to the new fees, existing ones saw an increase, including the preliminary plat fee doubling from $750 to $1,500. Construction plans also doubled from $500 to $1,000 plus the same 3.5 percent of total construction costs. The site development plan fee increased $250 to $1,000 for the first acre, and the final plat also went up from $250 to $750.

The fees have not yet gone into effect as they must be run as a legal notice in the newspaper of record – which for the City is The Independent.

The fees will help cover increased costs for the City when it comes to approving plans and plats.

“We need to stay competitive in order for us to meet the 30-day window the state has set out for us,” Hall said. “In order for us to do that we have to add staff and I don’t want us to just throw staff into it for the sake of throwing staff into it, so we took the previous year’s data and looked at that to try and project where we need to go to in order for us to be able to afford the staff we need to have.”

The presentation on other fees will be made at the Council’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 23, in the Council Chamber at 2801 RR 1869.

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