Resolutions

Adding Building Permit Fees to the Tax Roll

Year: 2017

Resolution

Whereas Section 369 of The Municipalities Act allows municipalities to add specific unpaid charges to tax rolls and Section 370 of The Municipalities Act allows municipalities to apply to the courts for an injunction or other order for specific bylaw contraventions;

Whereas the addition of building permit fees, including development fees, Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency fees, and building inspection fees to the tax roll is currently not allowed; 

Whereas some ratepayers will start and finish a building project without first informing the municipality, or seeking a permit; and

Whereas building inspections are still required for completed projects, even though there is no efficient way of collecting the fees associated with the administration and inspections once a project is completed; and

Whereas stop work orders are not an effective solution to the problem if the project has already been completed; and

Whereas small urban municipalities have limited resources to allocate towards any legal costs related to Section 370 of The Municipalities Act;

Therefore be it resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association advocate with the provincial government to amend Section 369 of The Municipalities Act to allow municipalities to add the cost of unpaid building permit fees, development fees, Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency fees, and building inspection fees to the tax roll.

Background:

Paying for building permit costs, and all associated fees (such as development fees, plan review and inspection fees, and Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency fees) are a necessary requirement of the building process in all communities that adopt building bylaws. However, some ratepayers will start and finish a building project without first informing the municipality. These projects may include decks, sheds, internal building renovations, demolitions, and building moves. These projects must still be inspected to ensure safety and compliance, which costs the municipality money, but there is no way to enforce the collection of the building permit fees. 

Provincial Response

  • Currently, The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act and municipal legislation do not allow for unpaid building permit fees, development fees, Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency fees, and building inspection fees to be added to the tax roll.
  • Adding unpaid costs to the taxes is a sensitive issue. Specific requirements would need to accompany this request in order for government to consider it. For example, similar to adding unpaid utility costs to the tax roll, prior notice notifying the property owner that fees are in arrears and a 30-day notice by registered mail that unpaid fees will be added to the tax roll would be required at minimum, in order to give the property owner every opportunity to pay the fees.
  • The appropriate building and assessment maintenance inspections would also need to be carried out on the building project once the unpaid fees are added to the tax roll, in order to ensure that construction was done in accordance with the National Building Code of Canada and the proper assessment of the building project is recorded on the tax roll. 
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