WINDERMERE — A town budget report shows another jump in Windermere’s building-permit fee revenue compared to last year.
“We’ve had a lot of volume (of construction activity) over the last three years,” Town Manager Robert Smith said.
The current budget year ends Sept. 30. According to data from Smith, town officials anticipate receiving $120,000 in building-permit fee revenue in fiscal 2014, more than double the $50,000 that was estimated in the budget.
“Construction activity is increasing, but you never want to overestimate your permit fees, because they fluctuate in a heartbeat,” Smith said Sept. 10. “So we’ve projected very conservatively.”
That conservative approach holds true for prior years, too. For example, the town received $96,931 in building-permit fee revenue in fiscal 2013 after again having projected only $50,000.
And in fiscal 2012, officials received $90,302 in this type of revenue after having budgeted only $36,000.
For the new budget year, officials have budgeted $75,000 in building-permit fee revenue.
The town contracts with Universal Engineering, of Orlando, to administer building permits, perform inspections and provide other services. The firm receives 80% of the revenue that comes from the fees for these services, while the town receives 20%.
In fiscal 2015, the firm of PDCS LLC, of Orlando, will begin handling these services under the same compensatory arrangement.
“(The switch in companies) is based on quality and level of service,” Smith said. “We’ve been with Universal for about four years now, and the town council decided it was time to make a change.”
At the council’s Sept. 10 regular meeting, council members Mike Pirozzolo and Richard Gonzalez said they want to see periodic reports on building-permit activity in Windermere. Smith said he would make sure their requests are met.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a revised list of building-permit fees.
“For the most part, most of them are being decreased, or they’re easier to calculate,” Smith said. “There are savings in most of the permits. It’s at the cost of what the inspection should be.”
The revised list of fees include:
• Group I permits, which have a $75 fee. These apply to projects such as storage sheds up to 120 square feet, residential decks, above ground swimming pools and air-conditioning change outs.
• Group II permits, which have a $150 fee. Projects in this group include residential re-roof projects, wall, pole or monument signs, residential docks and residential screen enclosures.
• Group III permits, which have a $250 fee. Projects in this category include billboards, mobile home setups and residential, in-ground swimming pools.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the sale of alcohol by non-restaurant businesses on Sundays. Non-restaurant businesses that are within 1,000 feet of a church or school will have to apply for a conditional-use permit in order to sell alcohol “by glass or drink.”