Selectmen ‘Kick the Can Down the Road’ Regarding Proposed Town Fee Increases

February 6, 2015
 

by Doug Robinson

Hudson residents, as well as the Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce, voiced their concerns regarding the increase of town fees involving the Inspectional Division.

The Board of Directors of the Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce wrote the following letter to the board.  “Dear Hudson Selectmen:  Thank you for the opportunity to present this letter to you expressing the views of the Board of Directors for the Gr. Hudson Chamber of Commerce on the proposed changes to the Town of Hudson’s Fees.

“The Chamber would like to voice its concern regarding increasing these fees and the potential effect on economic development within the Town of Hudson and housing affordability.  Increasing fees on residential and commercial building permit process may have a ripple effect on the progress of our community.  When so much of our community is invested in attracting and retaining business to our region, increased building and permit costs could have adverse consequences on potential new business as well as affordability to middle class families.

“We respectfully request further consideration be given to the large step in increases on both the residential and commercial fee structures and the impact it may adversely result.”

Tim Malley, of Malley Electric, commented that “any increase of fees” would hurt the consumer.  He further stated that the increase in fees would “drive someone out of our community.”

Hudson Board of Selectmen Chair Roger Coutu believed that the increased fees were “hidden taxes” and that the fees were “convoluted.”

Hudson resident Glenn Della-Monica told the selectmen that “for what you get, it’s not worth a heck of a lot.”

Selectman Richard Maddox stated that the inspectional fees had not been changed since 2004.

Hudson Fire Chief Rob Buxton said that he “believed the (new) fee structure impacted the user” only.  “The average homeowner should not be burdened” for the inspectional costs incurred by other homeowners or businesses.

Chairman Coutu analyzed the cost increases to be excessive stating, “We are giving away the (Hudson) advantage (for businesses) as our prices are the lowest.”  The proposed fee increases raised the permit fee from $25 to $60.  The proposed residential electrical permit fee went from $75 to $200.  Permits for a roof went from $0 to $200.

As a result of the conflicting discussions, the selectmen then decided to “kick the can down the road,” as commented by Selectman Maddox, and requested that the fire chief reviews his suggestions and returns to the board at a later date.