NORWICH – Though it represents one of the smallest budgets in Chenango County, local taxpayers will be hit with a 58 percent increase for code enforcement next year.
Revenues in the department were down this year and cut in half since 2007, no doubt a reflection of the nation’s economic recession. There have been simply fewer new building projects, much less any new big box retailers like Walmart and Lowe’s to add to the bottom line. Chenango County saw a $30,000 decrease of the $80,000 anticipated this year from the collection of building fees.
The results were still a far cry from the $174,000 taken in just three years ago when many bricks and mortar projects and new homes were started. Next year will be the first time any local tax dollars will be needed to afford the department.
Moreover, when the Town of Norwich opted to break away and hire its own code enforcement officer last year, the county codes enforcement department was forced to cut staff. Other towns like New Berlin and Greene were already conducting their own permitting and enforcing. Fewer officers in the field resulted in fewer revenues for fire code inspections and maintenance calls.