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ENID, Oklahoma. – City officials continued on Tuesday to seek the golden loop of a new royalty system for building permits that would be based solely on square footage.

City Hall intends to separate housing permits from subcontracting permits in mechanical, electrical and plumbing, as well as removing the more complicated sliding scale from the current rate structure, Deputy City Manager Scott Morris said. during a study session for the commissioners.

Fees would remain largely the same for residential projects, city manager Jerald Gilbert added, telling commissioners staff would do more outreach with specialty contractors before a new proposed order is presented to commissioners for consider approving it next month.

According to the city, the current rate for a permit to build a new 2,000 square foot home is $ 340; for an office of 3,000 square feet, these costs are a minimum of $ 480. These rates are then scaled based on 100 square feet over increasing ranges.

For example, authorizing a 5,250 square foot building costs $ 635, with up-front charges of $ 620 and $ 15 (rounded off by $ 5 per 100 square feet over 5,000).

The average permit fee for a 2,000 square foot home among a dozen other cities is $ 679.86, Morris said – Enid’s is currently $ 340 for the same size unit. The average for a 5,000 square foot office is $ 2,030.69, with Enid’s cost less than a third, Morris said.

He and the city’s chief financial officer Erin Crawford came up with several percentage rate options for residential and commercial projects, and these remained below the state average.

Morris said he had twice met with the Northwest Oklahoma Homebuilders Association for comment. Staff also called on contractors to meet at the city code department office.

“All the comments we heard were, ‘It’s simpler, we love it, it makes sense,” Morris said. “People like more simplicity, and for me, it’s simpler, and it gives us more flexibility to start a project without waiting, ‘Oh, who’s my HVAC guy?’ “

Ward 3 Commissioner Keith Siragusa said he wanted to fit businesses into the already standing vacant commercial buildings in his neighborhood.

He suggested creating a separate program to specifically help with renovations, and Gilbert said this could be done through the community development grant program funded annually by the city.

“We need them,” Siragusa said. “I want the remodeling side so that my residents can do it at no additional cost. “

Morris said the proposed pricing structure would reduce renovation costs, which are currently based on property valuation.

Ward 6 Commissioner Scott Orr asked why business permit fees are higher than residential buildings, if someone was running an insurance business from a home, for example.

Orr called the tariff structure a “necessary evil” and said he wanted to keep permit costs as low as possible for potential businesses.

“I don’t want this to be a burden on anyone who wants to start a business or get a license,” he said.

Stallings, who runs an engineering company, explained that commercial inspection compliance is different from home inspection, for things like ADA bathrooms, sprinkler systems and occupancy.

“In general, commercial inspections are more complicated than a home inspection,” Morris said.

He said the proposed trade rate would make Enid the lowest of a dozen other cities reviewed by staff.

What the city bills and what is received does not cover the cost of the city code service anyway, according to Morris’ presentation of the service’s fiscal year budget data.

The total permit fee generated revenue of $ 144,703.69 in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, while the department was budgeted at $ 807,075.

The ministry has approved more than 2,400 permits, more than three-quarters of which were for residential projects.

Morris said he didn’t know how many residential permits were for renovations rather than construction because the permit reporting system does not automatically break them down.