MADEIRA BEACH — A $12 million Courtyard by Marriott hotel, as well as millions of dollars in other development projects, may break ground this fall, and the city is eager to put the potential hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees in its own pocket.
The city has not had its own building department since 1998 when it contracted with Pinellas County to handle all permitting and inspections.
Several years ago, the city switched to Treasure Island, which retains all revenues for providing those services — an amount that was over $166,000 last year, according to Madeira Beach City Manager Shane Crawford.
In fiscal year 2010-2011 Treasure Island issued 637 residential and commercial building permits, at an average of $262 per permit. More than 1,280 on-site building inspections were performed.
So far this year, Madeira Beach building projects in the city have generated $169,577 for Treasure Island.
For the past two months Crawford has been negotiating with Treasure Island for a 30 percent split in the city's building permit fees.
Then Treasure Island's building official quit to take a job with South Pasadena and that city approached Madeira Beach offering a greater fee split if Madeira Beach would switch its permitting contract.
Last week, the commission held a special workshop on the issue and reviewed proposals from both Treasure Island and South Pasadena, as well as from Pinellas County and several private companies.
In the end the commission reaffirmed it wants more control over — and revenues from — future building permits and decided to advertise for formal proposals.
Requests for proposal advertised Sunday for a full range of building services are due back to the city by Aug. 13 and presumably will be reviewed by the commission at its Aug. 15 meeting.
Rather than hire its own building official, the city is seeking to contract the services of a fully licensed building official who can provide plan review and inspection services for any projects within the city limits.
The city would collect the building permit fees and out of those fees pay for the contracted services. The official would be given office space in city hall and would be expected to be available for at least three days a week.
"The commission is hoping to maximize its revenues while putting customer service as a key component," Crawford said this week.
He said all bidders must meet that qualification first in order to be considered.
Since the city has not had a building department for more than a decade, the commission must create a new building permit and services fee schedule, an action that is expected to occur quickly.
The reason is about $80,000 in permit fees for the hotel project that are on the table.
The Marriott developers are expected to submit a development agreement proposal to the city next month.
The ordinance creating the structure and procedures for such agreements was approved by both the city and the state last month and will go into effect on Aug. 26.
Housh Ghovaee, engineer and spokesperson for the hotel developers, said the Marriott project is being fast-tracked and could break ground by September or October.