Leavitt calls out Madore over claim about excessive city fees
Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt exchanged emails with Clark County Commissioner David Madore this week, challenging Madore’s assertion in a Q & A with the Vancouver Business Journal that the city wanted “hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees,” for an expansion of Madore’s company, U.S. Digital.
Madore was quoted in the VBJ saying: “I know from my own experience operating US Digital that twice during our history we attempted to grow and we stopped because the city of Vancouver wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees. So we decided it wasn’t worth it.”
Leavitt emailed Madore:
Mr. Madore —
2004: 5,684 sf addition; land use, building permit, TIF, etc. resulted in $11,225.53 in fees
Current Address of Business
2006: Major T.I. (117,913 s.f.) building permit only = $5,772.50 in fees
2008: Minor T.I. (17,000 s.f.) building permit only = $4,253.30 in fees
2008: Com permit for landscaping/water feature enhancements = $2,460.50 in fees
2010: Minor T.I. = $1,457.21 in fees
2010: Minor T.I. = $515.21 in fees
2011: Minor T.I. = $642.60 in fees
The sum of these permit fees (inclusive of two different office locations) is a little over $26,000.
Madore responded, apparently without reading the e-mail’s subject line referring to “Q & A with Clark County Commissioner David Madore May 31:”
Mayor Tim Leavitt,
Thank you for tuning into my CVTV Focus interview.
The first time we wanted to add on was in our previous building at 11100 NE 34 Circle. The city permit staff would not help us until we spent $60,000 in architect fees. After the city piled on excessive requirements that made our addition impractical, we abandoned the project and absorbed the loss. I don’t have the records handy at the county. But I am guessing the year was around 2006.
The second project was to build a media studio in our warehouse. To avoid a repeat of our first experience, we consulted with a local architect who gave us the bad news before we wasted our money. We ended up converting an existing classroom instead.
I can see that you see from the detailed record in your email that we’ve pulled numerous permits totaling a little over $26,000. Those were the successful ones. As elected officials, unless a citizen makes it a point, we will not know about those that choose not to build.
It is a pleasure for me to tune in and do all that I can to remove the disincentives. In the long run, growth pays for growth as each business built or expanded contributes to our economic vitality. Hopefully, all of Clark County will prosper and thrive as we unleash free enterprise and open the floodgates to local private jobs.
Clark County Commissioner
Leavitt’s responded, pointing out that architectural design costs shouldn’t be considered a “city fee.”
Leavitt said today that if Madore doesn’t respond by Friday, he’ll contact the VBJ and ask if he can have a response published to correct Madore’s statement.