Batavia to reevaluate city’s permit fees

March 23, 2020 ÐÊRiver Street in downtown Batavia

Batavia may make some changes to its permit fees after the City Council voted July 17 to hire an outside consultant to reevaluate its permit processes.

“The time is due to do this, to reanalyze our fees for building permits,” Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke said.

The $45,000 deal with consultant HR Green, which is not budgeted, would see the firm conduct two 90-day studies on permit processes and permit fees, according to meeting documents.

The contract approval was passed by an 8-4 vote, with one alderperson absent. Dissenting alderpersons cited budget concerns and a preference for using city staff to conduct the study.

“I would rather spend the money on hiring additional staff,” Alderperson Dan Chanzit said.

“I think there’s plans in place to improve the situation. They’ve done self-analysis,” Alderperson Christopher Solfa said. “I think this is a waste of money.”

Schielke said the study would help the city prepare for a wave of new residents.

“We’ve got right now 549 new units either under construction or about to be built that permits have already been issued for,” Schielke said. “We’ve got some heavy-duty loads of new people coming in here.”

Schielke said the city still expects to hire new staff in the future.

“I’m in support of this only because I think outside consulting can be very beneficial to a department, to a company, to a business,” Alderperson Laura Lehman said. “Especially as Batavia is on the cusp of incredible growth.”

In other meeting news, the council voted to advertise the auction of a 0.83-acre lot of city-owned land at 1359 Brandywine Circle.

“We did receive an offer for $47,500,” Community and Economic Development Director Scott Buening said. “We do have to put this out for auction, advertise it for auction.”

The land initially was listed for $55,900, according to documents.

Documents showed offers will be presented to the City Council during the Aug. 8 Committee of the Whole meeting.