COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Collier County is open for business. That's the message county leaders want to send by lowering the cost of inspection fees and building permits.
It's a move they say will pump thousands back into the construction industry.
Tuesday, Collier County commissioners voted to cut inspection fees and building permits by five percent. That will mean savings for anyone looking to build.
"A typical inspection is $60. You may have 10 inspections on a project so 5% cut will equal $30 in a week back to a builder and while that doesn't sound like a lot, you have a lot of projects going on, multiple homes being built, that's gas back in their tank, it could be another employee," says Nick Casalanguida, Growth Management Administrator.
Casalanguida estimates by 2014, the decision will put half a million dollars back into the building industry, sending a clear message. "Southwest Florida is welcoming and open for business," says Cassalanguida.
"It's expensive to build in Collier County and it's difficult to pull permits in Collier County and this is a step in the right direction," says Jim Duffy of Jim Duffy Construction, Inc.
Duffy says it's difficult to compete with Lee County pointing out that their impact fees are significantly less. Others in the building community agree the change helps, but more still needs to be done.
"In commercial, when a company looks at Lee County and a company looks at Collier County it's not an emotional decision," says Kathy Curatolo, Executive Officer for Collier Building Industry Association, Inc. When asked if she's referring to Hertz choosing Lee over Collier County she said that's one example.
Still, contractors say any reduction is a good step in getting the building industry back on its feet. "Anything that promotes growth and construction will bring in more employees and stabilize the industry."
CBIA hopes the county will do a study down the road to see where they can cut more costs.
The five percent fee reduction will go into effect August 1st.