Commission votes to reduce commercial HVAC inspection fee
CENTREVILLE — Companies getting heating, ventilation and air conditioning inspections completed in Queen Anne’s County for commercial businesses will see a decrease in that fee after the county commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday, July 11, to cut the fee in half.
Commissioners Mark Anderson and Robert Buckey voted against lowering the fee rate.
The fee change, which only affects commercial HVAC jobs, lowers the amount paid to the Middle Department Inspection Agency from $6 per $1,000 after $10,000 to $3 per $1,000 after $10,000 for HVAC inspections.
John Nickerson, ex-officio with the Queen Anne’s County Plumbing Board, presented the fee change to the commission on behalf of the board and said that during its June board meeting members discussed how the fees were calculated and determined it was too expensive, especially compared to the amount paid for plumbing permits for the same job. Members of the board passed a motion to ask the commissioners to decrease the fee for commercial HVAC inspection jobs.
When a commercial job value exceeds $10,000, a fee is charged per $1,000 afterward. Nickerson presented the commissioners with four jobs that were completed in the county and showed the price comparison for the job cost, what the commercial business would have spent using the old fee, how much they would spend with the new fee, and how much the plumbing fee for the same job would cost.
“It’s not correlated, that’s one of the reasons this is brought up,” Nickerson said. “They felt that this is a pretty high fee for, you know, the actual hours spent to do this.”
The completion of Stevensville Middle School, which cost $1,480,333, had an HVAC inspection fee of $8,892 using the rate of $6 per $1,000 of project cost after $10,000. With the new fee of $3 per $1,000 after $10,000, that same project would have had an HVAC inspection fee of $4,486. The chart showed that the plumbing fee for the Stevensville Middle School project would have been $1,705.
The other large projects listed with job costs were: Climbzone, $155,733; Shore Health, $361,000; and The Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, $950,000.
For projects that are under $10,000 in bidding value, Nickerson said a flat $60 fee is charged.
“So you’re not affecting too many actual jobs that are going in,” Nickerson said. “I mean, our experiences talking to the clerk is you probably got a range of three to five jobs this big going into your count year in and year out.”
Out of the money collected from the HVAC inspection fees completed by an inspector with the Middle Department Inspection Agency, which also looks over plumbing, electrical, building and gas inspections, the county receives 25 percent of the amount paid in a refund to its general fund from MDIA, Nickerson said.
The fee schedule for residential HVAC inspections did not change.
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