Town of Stettler council hikes some fees which were deemed too low

Written by Stu Salkeld

Stettler town council hiked some development fees after a comparison showed this municipality was one of the lowest in the region. The decision was made at the June 20 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a report on building and development permit fees presented by Director of Development and Planning Leann Graham who noted that during talks to extend a contract with a building inspection contractor, it was noted some of the Town of Stettler fees were among the lowest in the region.

“In 2022 the Town of Stettler issued 54 building permits with a construction value of $5.5 million, the following is a breakdown of the permit fees collected based on our existing fee schedule,” stated Graham’s report to council.

The report went on to note the town collected $53,107.85 in permit fees, 65 per cent of those fees were paid to inspection contractor IJD as per contract while the town held onto 35 per cent, totalling $18,587.75.

“In discussion with IJD Inspections, the Town of Stettler’s minimum plumbing, gas, and electrical permit fees, currently at $90, are low in comparison with other municipalities,” stated Graham in her report. “IJD has requested the Town of Stettler review the minimum plumbing, gas, and electrical permit fee and consider increasing it.”

Graham stated staff did some research and found four other municipalities nearby all charge more for their minimum plumbing, gas and electrical permit fee, upwards of $150, while the Alberta Safety Codes Authority actually charges $200 for that permit. It was noted in the report the average fee would be $140.

“IJD Inspections Ltd. has requested the minimum plumbing, gas and electrical fee be set at $125 and include a solar panel fee at $250,” noted the staff report.

During discussion Coun. Gord Lawlor stated he was a bit surprised by looking at the comparison list as the Town of Stettler is usually right in the middle of the pack, but in this instance Stettler was quite far behind. Lawlor noted he understood why the fees needed to be hiked and suggested they go up to $150, similar to the other communities.

Graham acknowledged that would still be quite a bit lower than what Alberta Safety Codes Authority charges but added that during talks between the town and contractor the suggestion was $125.

Mayor Sean Nolls agreed with Lawlor and noted that a $150 permit fee was a small price tag for someone developing a structure.

Coun. Wayne Smith stated he felt that the town staff and the contractors are the experts on this matter and if they recommended $125, councillors should follow that.

Coun. Scott Pfeiffer agreed with Smith, adding, however, that this fee structure could be reviewed again in a few years.

Councillors unanimously approved increasing the Town of Stettler’s minimum plumbing, gas and electrical fee to $125.

Solid event
During committee reports Mayor Nolls noted during rodeo weekend he had worked at the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede on the Saturday night and was impressed by the event.
“Looked like a fairly well-attended event,” said Nolls. “Very successful.”

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter

 

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.