Benton Township adjusts several fees, rates

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — From building to assessing fees, Benton Township is making changes.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, trustees amended the rates and fees that come from the assessing, building and water departments.

Superintendent Kelli Nelson said talks with the township’s assessor and building inspector led to discovering that several rates needed to be adjusted.

“Many of you are familiar with zoning change requests, zoning variants, special land use and planned unit developments,” Nelson told trustees Tuesday. “A lot of these items haven’t been updated in years. They are not reflective of what it takes the township to administer and process those.”

As an example, Nelson said special land use requests would cost residents $75. But that price is similar to the amount the township already pays committee members who decide whether such measures reach the board. That cost doesn’t account for mailing or staffing payments when it comes to processing fees.

“It’s really burdensome for the township to handle these single requests,” Nelson said. “This puts some of the responsibility back onto the resident that is placing the request or needs that service.”

The township’s electrical and mechanical fees will not be increased. The township’s plumbing fees are set by the state’s fee schedule, so Nelson and other township officials wanted to use the same format with electrical and mechanical fees.

The rate changes will be effective April 1.

Trustees then agreed to amend the rates and charges for water meter installations.

Nelson told trustees the reason they included the water meter fee increase was because they wanted to address all township rates at the same time.

The township hasn’t reviewed its water meter rates since 2011, which was when the municipality started providing water service to its residents.

Nelson said the 3/4-inch and 1-inch water meter would go down in costs, while others would be increased. A special rate was applied to the 6-inch meter, which is the only water meter the township’s distribution crew doesn’t install.

“It’s too large and requires a plumber and contractor to set those meters,” Nelson said. “We don’t do them that often. However, we have big manufacturers that use larger amounts of water with these meters. So, for an installation rate it will be equal to the contractors’ price, plus $100 for administration.”

The board moved its deadline for paying winter property taxes to Feb. 28 – an additional two weeks from the normal deadline.

“This is a courtesy the township has extended to its residents for many years,” Treasurer Debbie Boothby said. “There is no hardship or costs incurred to the township. It’s just meant to give our residents a little bit of extra time.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 9, 2017)

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