KOSCIUSKO — Kosciusko Commissioners approved an ordinance amendment updating filing fees at a meeting held Tuesday, June 25.
At the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission meeting held in April, Assistant Planning Director Matt Sandy presented a list of what Kosciusko County charges for filing fees compared to Whitley, Steuben, Elkhart, Fulton and Marshall counties. In all of categories, Kosciusko County’s fees were lower than or equal to the other counties. At that time, the APC agreed to come up with proposed fee changes at their next meeting.
Sandy brought the proposed fee changes to the commissioners meeting and requested approval for the ordnance amendment. The amendment also added fees for improvement location permits where previously there was no fee.
“We may be premature in looking at permit fees at this point,” Sandy admitted, telling commissioners they are looking at redoing the permitting system down the road. Sandy said part of that will include online permitting.
Commissioner Vice-President Brad Jackson stated he would prefer to hold off on addressing permit fees until after the cost of the new system has been established.
“I want to identify the cost first,” said Jackson. “We’re pricing something we don’t know the price of.”
Per the ordinance amendment, filing fees for variances and exceptions will increase from $75 to $150. Rezoning requests, appeals, development plan review appeals and minor subdivision requests will jump from $75 to $300.
Jackson told Sandy they need to be able to justify the cost and asked for further explanation on the areas that were potentially being raised from $75 to $300.
Sandy told commissioners the ordinance was amended and fees were revised in 2000 and have not been increased since that time.
“The zoning amendment, that is a rezoning. Those are the ads that are larger, and those — there will be some ads that we even will come up short with the $300,” said Sandy.
“When they do that, the whole legal description has to be printed in the media,” Commissioner Bob Conley added. “Costs have changed a lot in 20 years.”
“I’m all for user pays,” Jackson clarified. “I’m just not for user pays extra.”
Jackson expressed concern about the increase from $75 to $300 and said it seemed like a big jump.
According to Sandy and Area Planning Director Dan Richard, the combined cost of appeals, consultation, lawyers and advertising validate the proposed increase.
“If you guys stand behind your numbers, I support it,” said Jackson.
Commissioners eventually approved the ordinance amendment for the proposed filing fee increase but agreed to delay addressing a permit fee increase until a later date. The effective date for the filing fee increase will be Sept. 14.
County Prosecutor Dan Hampton told commissioners the county was awarded the 2019 Senior HUB grant in the amount of $20,000.
Hampton said the grant will go toward supplying clerical support for senior prosecutors, who are used in cases where the prosecuting attorney has a conflict of interest.
The money is offered through the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. The county received the grant for the first time last year.
County Attorney Chad Miner asked commissioners to approve a procurement policy that would document and govern purchasing that happens within the various departments and offices within the county.
According to Miner, the policy deals with purchases of services and purchases of goods/materials. This was approved and will take effect Sept. 1.
Miner also mentioned the Tippy-Chapman Regional Sewer District Indiana Department of Environmental Management meeting that will be held from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at the North Webster Community Center. Miner said he believes Ken Jones, president and chief executive officer with Jones Petrie Rafinski, Elkhart, may be there prior to the 6 p.m. official start time, possibly as early as 5 p.m.
County Administrator Marsha McSherry said Bell Memorial Public Library, Mentone, would like to have Larry Yeiter reappointed to the board. Commissioners approved this.
According to McSherry, repair work is needed on the north side of the jail on the granite steps. McSherry said two areas need to be completed: resetting the steps at a cost of $18,961 and replacing concrete on the ramp at a cost of $13, 871. Both quotes were received from Butt and Timmons, Syracuse.
- Two quotes for repairs to the jail elevator were received, with a decision made to award the bid to Kone Elevators & Escalators, Fort Wayne, in the amount of $78,174.60.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 9.