Your Thoughts: Building Permit Fees for Flood Victims

The Town Council meeting last night was not the only place where the issue of building permit fees for flood victims was discussed.  Our article commenters and Facebook groups have contributed many interesting and thought-provoking viewpoints on the subject.  (Original article, Building Permit Fees Cause Lively Town Council Debate).  Add your comments here if you haven’t had a chance to weigh in on the discussion.

Here are some of the opinions of our readers:

This is a very sticky situation. Could they possibly reduce the fees for flood victims? — Diane

Building permits cover the cost of a building inspector checking to make sure work is in code. This protects the property owner from shabby work from a contractor and people who purchase the house in the future. It’s part of owning a property. BUT, have you ever heard of a building inspector really doing a thorough job? It’s a joke. If He or she shows up, they talk to the contractor for a few minutes and leave. Things have to be pretty bad for him to stop the work and demand repairs. I can’t see a person who has $15,000 in flood repairs paying $150.00 in what is just ultimately a tax. I don’t know how many inspectors Bloomsburg has but lets guess 2. How can two people get around to every flooded home in Bloomsburg at the different stages the contractor needs him to inspect? He can’t, so why charge the people a fee for a service you can’t provide? — Ethan

We waived the fee for flood properties only in Hemlock Twp. for one year … if they rebuild they must rebuilt to the current flood zoning. — Rob

It will be interesting to see if FEMA money will be allocated to the town. I believe it is imperative to the town’s recovery. If the town were to receive some aid it would have more flexibilty to waive certain costs to property owners like building permit fees. Raising local taxes (flood tax) or placing the burden on individuals affected by this disaster may be unavoidable if the town doesn’t receive federal or state aid. — Michael

I’m sure a lot of the property owners have flood insurance which would pay for permitting costs and if they did I dont think it would be fair to push these costs to tax payers. I felt the same way with all disposal fees. However if some were on fixed incomes with no insurance then reduced costs would be fine. — Lee

Some folks have insurance, some do not either way I believe fees should be reduced for everyone to be fair. A lot of home now are undergoing repairs and probably have not gone through the permitting process. The town needs to recover its costs too. — Todd

I believe that we should have reduced fees for the flood victims. Some fee no matter how small should be required because, this would make monitoring where and how homes are rebuilt easier. — Barb

Photo by teofilo

Calling Bloomsburg Our Home

Over the last month, many of us have had the chance to see both incredible destruction and an incredible outpouring of support from our friends and neighbors.  As we enter Homecoming weekend, we thought it might be nice to ask people what calling Bloomsburg your home means to you and what Homecoming means in the face of the tragedy we have all suffered.  Here are some responses.  Feel free to add your voice by leaving a comment.  Happy 2011 Homecoming to all of Bloomsburg.  Our community is stronger than we ever imagined.  Go Panthers and Huskies!

Sadly, I will be at a meeting tomorrow and will miss my first Homecoming parade in about four decades.  Being part of the school community made Homecoming special. Our students created the excitement with daily rituals, the first issue of the Red & White was planned to coincide with the week and town and school spirits were always high. One year instead of helping to photograph the parade, I was asked to escort one of the high school’s court members in the parade. Driving down Lightstreet Road into town with crowds filling both sides of the street all the way to the town park was about as wonderful as wonder gets. — Sam Bidleman

I’ve always had this feeling of being a double agent when it comes to my Bloomsburg citizenry.  On the one hand I have called the only town in Pennsylvania my home having grown up here and graduating from BHS.  But then I went away to college ….  at Bloomsburg University.  Both the university and the town have a unique symbiotic relationship that I have seen from both sides.  Homecoming for me is a celebration of home town spirit and cultural diversity.  This year in the face of flood damage I am proud of the residents and university students who joined together to aid in Bloomsburg’s recovery effort. — Mike Fritz

I was born and raised in Bloomsburg and just moved back (after 22 years) two weeks before the flood.  It was absolutely heartbreaking to see the loss and devastation.  However, it gave me a tremendous sense of pride to see the town and university work together to help those that lost so much.  It is truly wonderful to be home again for homecoming this year! — Cari Foust McFarland

I am a transplant of 6 years … Never in my life have I seen so much pride in a town. People reaching out to help strangers. Bloomsburg may not be my hometown… But I am so proud to call it HOME!!! — Krista Bailey Quintrell

Homecoming, it’s about coming home. And they say home is where the heart is! My heart will always be in Bloomsburg. So many wonderful memories already made and so many more to be made, flood or not! Here is to new beginnings! — Tina Parks Erb

As my husband and I strolled through Main Street last night before attending the BTE’s Doubt (which by the way was tremendous) it was hard for me to realize the devastation of our town by the flood. Everything looked so normal — just like any quaint university town untouched by Lee. Homecoming for me this weekend brings back all my wonderful memories of many Homecoming weekends here I have shared with my husband, children, and friends over the last 42 yrs of living here! Wow, guess I have lived here a long time and have been blessed in so many ways. — Kay Camplese