ST. PAUL — Following further reporting by the Star Tribune into cities allegedly illegally overcharging for building permit fees, State Representative Jim Nash, R-Waconia, renewed his call for a thorough audit to be conducted:
"The emails confirm that it had been practice for cities to overcharge for permits, raising the costs of new homes by thousands of dollars, and totaling $80 million over the last 5 years alone based on publicly available documents.
"State law is clear: building permits should not be a revenue-generating source for cities. The Department of Labor & Industry is clear: building permit finances should be segregated from other city funds. What is not clear is why cities have strayed so far from the law and guidance provided by the Department on this issue. A full audit of this practice is needed, which is why I have requested both the State Auditor Julie Blaha and the Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles look into cities breaking the law on this issue. We have a housing affordability crisis in our state and if cities are adding, unnecessarily and illegally, to that burden, it needs to end and homeowners are due a refund and an apology."