Park Rapids HRA seeks permit fee waiver
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority is seeking more "bang for the dollar" in upcoming window and roofing improvements.
The Park Rapids City Council may waive a building permit fee for upcoming improvements at the River Heights Apartments.
Scott Wilson, executive director of the Cass County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), spoke up at the council’s Tuesday, May 23 meeting to explain the Park Rapids HRA’s request for a waiver.
The city has contracted with the Cass County HRA to administer the Park Rapids HRA, which operates the River Heights Apartments, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-subsidized housing development at 500 Riverside Ave.
City Administrator Angel Weasner said the Park Rapids HRA had opened bids for a $461,000 window replacement project, and was requesting a waiver of a $2,934 permit fee.
Weasner said she did not know of any history of the city waiving permit fees for Park Rapids HRA projects, and noted that the city has paid permit fees for all of its own projects.
Wilson said he requested the waiver in order to put more of the Park Rapids HRA’s limited capital funds toward the project. “We’re trying to get the best bang for the dollar,” he said.
He compared the request to the Hubbard County HRA’s request for a tax abatement to build the Pinecrest Apartments, and stressed that the Park Rapids HRA is part of the city.
Wilson added that the Park Rapids HRA is also planning $500,000 in renovations and a $120,000 project this year. “We’re looking at a sizable portion of our budget,” he said, suggesting that the fee waiver could be a small city contribution to the project.
Wilson said the Park Rapids HRA has $750,000 in capital funds. “We’re trying to put more money into the project and beautify it and make it better for the residents and for the community,” he said.
Weasner admitted that she doesn’t know exactly how much of the permit fee breaks out as an inspection fee, which would be a city expense, as would a $231 state surcharge. Wilson said the Park Rapids HRA could work with the inspection part.
Stone said she would be willing to consider the waiver if they know how much of the permit fee goes toward inspections. Leckner agreed.
“You do have time,” said Wilson, saying they could wait until the council’s June 13 meeting. Weasner agreed to get the cost breakdown by then, and to discuss the additional costs associated with the roof project, which is still out for bid.
Stone made a motion to table the request until June 13, which passed unanimously.