The Little Falls City Council is considering raising its building permit fees and golf course fees. According to the December 9, 2007, issue of the Morrison County Record:

“As suggested, the fee for building an addition costing up to $500 would be $15. For an addition valued up to $2,000, $15 would be charged for the first $500, followed by a charge of $2 for each additional $100 spent. For a building that cost [sic] between $500,001 and $1 million, the fee would be $2,039.50 for the first $500,000, plus $3 for each additional $1,000 spent.”

Did your brain shut off after reading all those figures? Mine did. Let’s switch back on and I’ll point out a couple of curious things. A minor thing first. Where did the 50 cents come from in the $2,039.50 if all of the fees are round figures?

Second, and even more curious, who can build an addition for $500? You can’t even drop a hammer on your toe for that amount, let alone build an addition. Have you seen the cost of building materials? Even if you do it yourself, you’re not going to get an addition bigger than a doghouse with that amount of money.

Is the City Council using the word “addition” to refer to any sort of remodeling? If that’s the case, then starting permit fees based on a $500 value makes sense, but the Council should change the language so it’s not misleading. If the City Council actually means “addition” when it says “addition,” I’d start a little higher up on the scale for permitting fees – maybe at that $2,000 range. Just a suggestion . . . .

Shaking my scaly head while rubbing my stubbed fin,*

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

*(Yeah, I know. It’s gonna cost me.)

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