Tricounty News

County fees adjusted to charge user

After much scrutiny and discussion, the Board voted Tuesday, Oct. 30, to raise fees on some of the services the county provides. The fees include items like liquor licenses, plats, construction site permits, pool inspection fees, septic system permits, shoreland alteration permits, and Quarry Park permits.

Commissioners thoroughly analyzed each fee charged to individuals for various services to see what the public benefit was versus individual benefit and to decide how much taxpayers should pay compared to the person applying for the service.

"Ever since I've been on the Board I've encouraged us to take a look at the fee schedule," said Commissioner DeWayne Mareck. "Not to raise dollars, not to compare with other counties, not to do anything, but to look at a particular service to see who's paying for the service. Is it the individual who's benefiting from the service, is it the general taxpayer, or is it a combination of the two. We'll want to take a look at this on a continuing basis."

A recent study showed Stearns County is far behind what other counties and the state charge for services.

This new fee schedule will generate an additional $205,000 for Stearns County next year.

The fee changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.