San Benito proposes new building permit fees

While some costs could rise, others could drop

SAN BENITO — New costs tied to home construction are changing.

Earlier this week, city commissioners took the first step to revise the way officials charge for residential building permits.

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners passed the first reading of an ordinance that could slightly boost some costs while curbing others.

For years, building permit costs were based on a home’s construction value.

Now, House Bill 852 requires residential building permit fees to be assessed according to the home’s total square footage.

So, officials are busy drafting a new fee schedule.

“Some fees will be going down and some will go slightly up,” Bernard Rodriguez, the city’s planning director, told commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting. “Even the renovations we have here in San Benito are smaller but the value is still high. They will see a drastic reduction in permit fees.”

At City Hall, officials have been reviewing building permit fees across the area.

“We looked at cities across the Rio Grande Valley in two counties and did a lot of comparisons,” City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said.

Rodriguez said he’s worked to keep proposed building permit fees in line with current fees.

“In determining the new proposed building permit fee, an analysis was conducted in recently issued building permits using actual variables from recent construction permit information to arrive at a cost per square foot value,” Rodriguez said.

As a result, he said, officials are proposing to base residential building permit fees on a cost of 30 cents per square foot for homes 2,000-square-feet and under while charging 25 cents per square foot for homes larger than 2,000 square feet

Harlingen’s new fees

Last month, Harlingen city commissioners voted to base residential building permit fees on a cost of 25 cents per square foot.

Under Harlingen’s new fee schedule, developers of homes under about 2,000 square feet will pay less for their building permits, City Manager Dan Serna said in an earlier interview.

In Harlingen’s housing market, more buyers purchase new homes under 2,000 square feet.

Still, City Hall is expected to receive more revenue.

At the new rate, permit fees to build homes under about 2,000 square feet will generate less revenue than pervious fees, Assistant City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said.

However, he said, the cost of permits to build homes larger than 2,000 square feet will more than offset the loss of revenue derived from fees for smaller homes.