Com­mis­sion votes to re­duce com­mer­cial HVAC in­spec­tion fee

Record Observer - - Classifieds - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­

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.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­

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