Minot’s extra-territorial fees challenged in legislative bill

A bill prohibiting cities from charging higher building permit fees in their extra-territorial areas will get a legislative hearing in Bismarck Thursday.

Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, is the sponsor of House Bill 1471, which states cities cannot charge more for permit fees in extra-territorial areas than in the corporate city limits. Cities also cannot impose more restrictive regulations in extra-territorial areas under the bill.

The House Political Subdivisions Committee will take public testimony Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Capitol.

The issue arose in Minot last year when a resident outside city limits asked the council to equalize fees, which are doubled in the extra-territorial area. The Minot City Council had passed a resolution in July 1986 that provided for doubled fees.

The city upheld the fees last fall. According to the city, the surcharge is meant to recover the added costs of staff time and resources used to perform the duties outside of city limits and to discourage sprawl from adding to the costs of developing municipal infrastructure in and around rural subdivisions. The city reported nearly half of the costs of the Planning, Building and Inspection Departments are subsidized by property taxes. The surcharge is meant to offset the costs for services provided beyond city taxing boundaries.

Proponents for equalizing fees in Minot stated last fall they were unaware of any other cities that impose higher fees in extra-territorial areas.