Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today that an ordinance regarding changes to St. Tammany Parish Department of Development fees is being introduced at the September 6, 2018 Council Meeting. The fee adjustment will establish rates that are commensurate with the market and fee structures in other jurisdictions, because these Development fees have not increased since 2004.
Evaluation and changes of the development fees were addressed in the Administration’s rewrite of the Development Code, currently in draft form. Additionally, the fee increase was one of the suggestions brought forth by the Streamlining Budget Workgroup at the beginning of the summer. As laid out in the ordinance change, Parish officials will evaluate these fees periodically to make changes incrementally as the market requires.
“As we grow, it is vital that those that develop land and build homes, pay the real value of the services they receive. Our Development Department does a great job of assuring homebuyers that the house they purchase was built to the highest codes and standards. In order for us to do this, the primary users of this service must pay their share of that cost,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President.
Brister went on to say, “We re-evaluated every service we provide and thoughtfully applied market research to match the level of fees in other Parishes and Counties for these types of services. At the end of the day, only 10 of the 50 fees we currently charge will see an increase, but the changes we do make will put us in line with other jurisdictions.”
Among the proposed fee increases are: an increase of nine fees for service provided by the Department; the establishment of a credit card/e-check processing fee that the Parish is currently incurring for this service; and the reinstitution of a previous fee for the provision of Community Letter, suspended after Hurricane Katrina.
The increase in fees will cover the operational costs Parish Government incurs for providing certain services. Minimal fees will also be established to cover costs associated with three services which are currently free.
The revenue generated from the collection of these fees, estimated at just over $900,000 will enable the Department of Development to become a self-sustaining Enterprise Fund, which means the Department of Development will have its own funding source, and would no longer depend on subsidies from the Parish’s General Fund (approximately $868,000 in 2017) for operational costs.
If the Ordinance is adopted, the increases and changes will take effect immediately. To review the proposed changes to the Ordinance, click here.