County officials are proposing fee hikes for people seeking permits to build or remodel houses and commercial buildings. The increased fees would be in exchange for an end to the contractor’s license tax.
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors first discussed doing away with the license tax in February, but details of the new fees were only unveiled on Monday. The fees are intended to ensure the county doesn’t lose revenue.
Supervisors Toni Williams (Jackson district) and Troy Wade (Louisa district), who are both contractors, advocated for the change. They said the contractor’s license is unfair because it applies to them but not to other types of businesses, such as retail stores and other service providers.
Supervisor Willie Gentry (Cuckoo district) opposes raising fees, but supports ending the contractor’s license.
“I don’t look at it as lost revenue,” he said. “I look at it as less the taxpayer has to pay to get work done.”
Though Williams said the switch to fees should be revenue-neutral, it is possible the county will see a net gain. The contractor’s license yielded $154,000 in 2016. Jeff Ferrel, assistant county administrator, forecast an increase in fee revenue of about $172,000.
The Louisa County Community Development Department collected $488,000 in building and zoning fees in fiscal year 2017. Of that amount, 70 percent was for building and related permits.
Some applicants who pay building and zoning fees are not contractors, but individuals building their own homes. They would not have paid for a license, but would pay increased fees if the proposed code change is enacted.
“The goal here is not to pay more taxes,” Williams said. “It’s to collect it in a different way and eliminate a step in the process.”
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 23 edition of The Central Virginian.