Visalia to Slash Homebuilding Fees

FRESNO, Calif. Construction crews are hard at work in Northwest Visalia building new homes. But with dozens of vacant spaces ... Visalia City Officials know new home construction is nowhere near where it used to be. So now the city is taking steps to change that.

The mayor of Visalia is asking city departments to look into how they can slash homebuilding fees by 30% or more. This would save homebuilders tens of thousands of dollars.

Visalia Mayor Bob Link said what the city loses in fees, would be made up in other areas. "When the building industry especially the home building industry is doing well everybody in the community is doing well because the ripple effect is so much greater," said Link.

Bob Keenan with the Home Builders Association said, "It's justifiable that the land costs are down materials are down labor costs are down and therefore it's rational that the fees also drop to what they should be."

Keenan said with most home building fees at 10% the cost of the house -- builders could use the incentive. He and link agree lowering the fees could increase sales and property tax and help the city's economy flourish.

"For every million dollars in construction of single family homes 36.36 jobs are created throughout the economy and only 13.5 of those are actual construction jobs," said Keenan.

"When you have a strong economy in the building industry, you're getting sales tax from the people that are buying products to build those houses with," said Link.

Link hopes to get several proposals on how to cut the fees next month, with the city enacting the new lower fees by April. The reduced fees would have a sunset clause though ... lasting about a year to a year and a half.

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