Form News Service: Local governments collect extra $78M in building fees across Minnesota

EXCERPT: “Cities, counties and townships that charge building fees on new homes banked $78 million more than what they needed for inspection costs over the last five years, a study released Tuesday, Aug. 20, showed. The fees are supposed to offset the cost of the inspection expenses at the municipal level. But affordable housing advocates and state lawmakers worry that gap could be a key factor in why the cost of a new home has become out of reach for many Minnesotans. Under state law, municipalities are allowed to collect building and plan review fees that are ‘fair, reasonable, and proportionate to the actual cost of the service for which the fee is imposed.’ But several communities appeared to run afoul of that, the Roseville-based Housing Affordability Institute found, tacking on thousands of dollars of additional fees that go beyond offsetting the cost to the city of conducting building inspections. And in several cases, those excess fees funded general fund expenses, including the construction of a new City Hall in Corcoran, a northwest suburb of Minneapolis.” FULL STORY: