BY JOE OLENICK firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Town of Lockport officials will not raise fees for new building applications.
The Town Board decided Monday application fees would remain the same, foregoing a proposed 25 percent increase. The increase would have taken effect Jan. 1.
Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Monday the reason was that town officials did not want to discourage building by raising the fees. The raise would have brought in an estimated $5,000 more in revenue for Lockport, but the fear was the increase would have discouraged developers and builders from coming to the town.
“We really want to encourage building and development in the town, so why would we make a change when we don’t really have to,” Smith said. “We’ve been looking for ways to increase development.”
Lockport’s fees are significantly less than some of the surrounding communities, Smith said. Builders are charged based on the square footage of the project.
Councilman Paul W. Siejak said the town has a significant fund balance as well as a big increase in sales tax revenue. An extra $5,000 might not be worth it, if development in Lockport takes a dip.
“It might be counterproductive to raise fees,” Siejak said.
The increase would have been roughly $100 per new home. That’s not a huge amount, but it isn’t a message the town wants to send out, Siejak said.
“It’s the way it comes across,” he said.
Town officials are discussing lowering the recreation fee instead, as a way to encourage development, Smith said.
In other town news, board members decided to go with the lower of two options for heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements at the Carpenters Union hall.
One option, a $35,000 choice, would complete the work needed, compared to the $130,000 option which promised savings over a 40 year period. Board members voted to allow the engineer to put out a bid with the $35,000 option.
Town board members felt the payback from the $130,000 option was enough to justify it.
”I would go with the lower number, if we can accomplish the same goal,” Councilman Mark C. Crocker said.
Getting 40 years out of a HVAC system seems unlikely, Siejak said.
The savings could help with the cost of a sprinkler system for the highway department, which would cost $53,500, Siejak said.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.