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Massena board changes fire inspection fees

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MASSENA - The village board voted unanimously Tuesday night to alter the way it bills businesses for their annual fire safety inspections.

While the fees for businesses with up to 1,000 square feet of floor space will remain the same, businesses greater than 100,000 square feet will see that fee increase from $25 to $500.

“We’ve had discussions about this in the past,” said Fire Department Foreman Ken McGowan, who gave the comparison of charging a woman operating the hair salon $25 while also charging Walmart that same fee.

In the instance of the hair salon, Mr. McGowan said the inspection is done in less than half an hour, while inspections at larger properties can take 90 minutes or more.

“With $25, the minute we leave the village is losing money,” Mr. McGowan said, referring to the amount of time it takes to inspect some of the village’s larger properties.

The idea of billing for inspections based on a property’s squared footage isn’t a new one, and Mr. McGowan said he consulted with several other communities before developing the new fee structure.

For business up to 1,000 square feet, the fees will remain the same. Home-based businesses smaller than 500 square feet will continue to have a base fee of $0.

Businesses between 1,000 and 3,000 will have a base fee of $50, with businesses 3,001 through 10,000 square feet being charged $100. Businesses 10,001 to 50,000 square feet will be charged $150 and businesses 50,001 to 100,000 square feet will have a base fee of $200. The fee for businesses that are greater that 100,000 square feet is $500, with an additional $50 added for each 10,000 square feet.

Should any violations be found, Mr. McGowan said the initial fee will cover one follow-up visit.

Should additional visits be required those follow-up fees range from $25 to $100, again based on the size of the property.

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