City code ordinances may begin to look a little different next year.
Building Official Aaron Maldonado spoke on behalf of the Code Enforcement department, stating the fees for work by homeowners haven't been changed since 2004.
"Building permit fees haven't been changed since around 2010," said Maldonado. "Electric has been the same since 2004, and plumbing hasn't changed since 2009."
Maldonado explained that this leads to some structures being underreported. He proposed the department move to charging by square footage instead.
"If someone were to build an awning or something similar, it would cost them $15 right now," Maldonado said. "We have to go back numerous times to do different inspections, plus all the paper work and reports we have to fill out. That fee isn't cutting it."
According to Maldonado's research, there are very few cities in Texas that still charge a flat fee. Most board members agreed this change was something that should have been implemented slowly over time, but the change never occurred.
Following this presentation, the board voted to approve the change to charging by square footage, with Councilman Billy Jackson voting against the change.
Maldonado also presented an amendment to code ordinances dealing with fire prevention, hydrants, and fire sprinkler lines.
"This goes back to new construction," said Maldonado. "A lot of temporary hydrants and fire sprinklers are being erected for new businesses that aren't metered by the city. We need these metered for billing and auditing purposes."
The new McDonald's was cited as an example of this; they were required to meter their hydrants and sprinkler system while constructing the new building.
The council discussed what would be expected of businesses that are older and weren't required to have the meters at the time of construction. They decided that those types of establishments were grandfathered in and wouldn't be required to catch up.
Maldonado concluded, reiterating that this only applies to new buildings being constructed.
The board unanimously approved this amendment.