New Milford increases health, zoning and public works fees
Published 12:00 am, Wednesday, August 9, 2017
NEW MILFORD — Town officials want to increase fees — many of which have not been updated in about a decade. The Town Council plans to hold a public hearing on the matter at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in Town Hall.
The three departments most affected by the proposed fee increases are the health, zoning and public works departments.
“These fee changes are consistent with what’s being charged with surrounding towns,” Mayor David Gronbach said.
Gronbach said fee increases are needed to cover operational costs in these departments, taking the burden off taxpayers.
Proposed fee changes
Septic permits: $200 to $250 for a new septic and $75 to $125 for a repair or replacement
Site work (includes soil testing): $50 to $100 for deep hole and percolation tests and $50 to $75 for site inspection
Day care centers: $50 to $100 for annual license
Public Works Department
Driveways (new fee): $50 to repair a right of way, $100 for reconstruction, $200 for new
Special permit: $250 to $300
Amending zoning regulations: $250 and publication costs to $300
Change of use: $30 to $60
But three Republicans on the Town Council — Katy Francis, Tom Esposito and Pete Bass — opposed the proposed changes.
Francis said those paying the fees are taxpayers and the increases could impair homeowners and businesses from improving their assets. She said every dollar matters for some households and small businesses, and increasing fees could pose a hardship.
“Aren’t we adding insult to injury?” she said.
When Francis asked whether the current fee structure supports operations, Health Department Director Michael Crespan replied, “No, not even close.”
He said the Health Department understands the concern. He said food service fees increased modestly because it’s difficult to survive in the industry and the department didn’t want the fees to be “exorbitant.”
The rates were prepared by a fee subcommittee, which included Bass, councilmen Frank Wargo and Walter Bayer and Personnel Director Gregory Bollaro.
“The proposal now is comparative and modest,” Bayer said.
Public Works would create a $50 fee to repair a right of way, $100 to reconstruct a driveway and $200 to build a driveway.
Gronbach said the fees are needed to help cover the cost of two site visits and an engineering review.
Under the Health Department’s changes, a new septic permit would increase from $200 to $250 and $75 to $125 for a repair or replacement. This applies to septic tanks at single-family, multiple-family and commercial properties.
Fees for site work would include soil testing. Fees for the deep hole and percolation tests would increase from $50 to $100 and site inspections would rise from $50 to $75. The engineered plan review would increase $75 to $200 for each lot in a new construction project and a subdivision fee would go from $75 to $100. Well permit fees would increase from $75 to $100 for new wells.
These fees were last changed in 2009.
The Health Department would increase the food service fees, ranging from an increase of $5 to $100. These fees were last updated in 2007.
The Zoning Department will increase the zoning permits for new construction by 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on the estimated cost of the construction project. It increases a special permit from $250 to $300, an application for home occupation increases from $25 to $60 and a change of use doubles from $30 to $60. Amending zoning regulations would be $300, instead of $250 plus publication costs and changing a zoning map would be $500 instead of $300. Excavation costs would increase as well.
Zoning last updated these fees 10 years ago.