ST. PETERSBURG — Installing a driveway, cutting down trees and allowing dogs to eat at restaurants may soon cost property and restaurant owners more cash.
The city is considering an increase in dozens of fees connected to land development regulations and building codes, which would bring in an estimated $105,000 more in annual revenue. The fees have not been changed since 2001, according to a city memo.
Almost half that total would come from permit fees for site plans, signs, landscaping, parking and paving projects. Many permits will jump from about $15 to $40.
Some council members voiced concerns about the new fees during a recent meeting.
Council member Jeff Danner said he worried higher fees could stymie growth and would be a "greater burden to open businesses when we're trying to do that."
Karl Nurse agreed: "I don't know if this makes sense."
The council agreed to move forward with the new or higher fees and hold a hearing to gather public opinion Aug. 16.
The proposal comes on the heels of the council's approval of a fire-readiness fee that will be charged to property owners. The tax is projected to raise $10 million, about the same size as the city's deficit next year.
Rick Dunn, the city's top building official, told the council that the increases are necessary because many permits require multiple inspections. The city, he said, needs a way to help cover the cost of workers' salaries.
The Construction and Services Permitting Division has been funded the last six years by the collection of fees and inspection services. No money from the city's general fund has been used, the memo said.
The city still plans to subsidize many fees in order to trigger development, the memo said. Some fees would have minimal increases, while others would double.
For example, a permit to remove trees would rise from $20 to $40 for one or two units. A site plan review by the Development Review Commission would jump from $500 to $1,000.
A new fee that allows dogs in outdoor dining areas will cost restaurant owners $10 a year. Officials don't expect significant revenue from the fee and have no plan to fine owners who don't pay.
Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.