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Land-use permit application fees likely to increase to help county recoup processing costs

September 6, 2012
The Maui Weekly

The Maui News - The cost of various Maui County land-use permit application fees could go up significantly--some by as much as 450 percent--as county officials look to realign fees with actual processing costs.

At current rates, the county's Planning Department said it recovers less than 20 percent of the actual cost to process some 30 different permit applications.

Following a management audit several years ago, the department studied its fee schedule and is now recommending a plan that would shift most of the costs to applicants.

For the average Maui taxpayer, that would mean less tax money going toward helping cover the costs for developers, businesses and homeowners to apply for everything from a change in zoning to an application to offer short-term rentals.

In 2009, the department collected just shy of $392,000 in fees for various permit applications. The department's actual cost for processing those applications totaled more than $2.1 million, according to the fee study done by Matrix Consulting Group of California.

County taxpayer money is used to make up the difference.

The department handles between 1,450 and 1,600 permits annually with about 40 of its 65 staff members processing planning applications, the study said.

The new fees would be phased in over five years, helping the department recover 30 percent of costs in the first year of implementation, 40 percent the following year, and eventually 70 percent in the fifth year.

The Planning Department will hold a public meeting on the proposal at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, in the department's conference room in the Kalana Pakui Building at 200 South High St. in Wailuku.



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