SOUTH RUSSELL — Building Committee members expressed the need to track how much money the village keeps from building permits and registrations and the amount that is refunded.

Building Committee member and Councilman Chris Berger said that the discussion came up at last week’s committee meeting, after members learned that the village will keep between $8,000 and $8,500 of the $13,393 they received for permits and registrations in August.

“We had a discussion about how we could track that information better, how we could have an understanding of actual fees versus refunded moneys,” he said. The panel wants to work with the Finance Committee to come up with a better way to track that information, Mr. Berger said after the meeting.

Mayor William Koons advised that it would be best to allot time in either November or February, which he said are usually less busy months, to creating a fund-tracking system.

Village Secretary Nancy Grattino also recommended changing permit fees to 1 percent of the project’s value with a minimum $100 fee. Currently, South Russell charges a flat fee for permits.

Mr. Berger asked Mrs. Grattino to obtain ordinances from neighboring communities to figure out common best practice for fees.

At the October meeting, Mrs. Grattino said the Building Committee would also consider changing the board of zoning appeals deposit to a flat fee depending on the type of project a resident is pursuing.

The panel also announced that the third and final reading for the new septic tank ordinance will take place at the Sept. 14 Village Council meeting. The new ordinance requires residents to have their septic tanks pumped every three years, instead of every two years as currently required.

“The effective date of the ordinance is Jan. 1, so if you fall before Jan. 1 then you have to meet the two-year standard,” Mr. Berger elaborated. “If you’re after Jan. 1, you meet the three-year standard.”

Council will also hear the third and final reading creating a position of a new full-time building department coordinator at the next meeting. The person in this new position would aid the building inspector at an hourly rate of $25. Mayor Koons previously stated that the position would be offered to Mrs. Grattino, who currently works part-time for the village.

Building Committee members also decided that they need to obtain a hard drive to back up the department’s desktop computer after Mrs. Grattino said there currently is no backup process for that machine. Mr. Berger said they are also considering overhauling the village website and creating a virtual private network for the village and moving to cloud storage for backup, allowing files to be accessed safely and remotely.

Mr. Berger reviewed a list of capital expenditures provided by Village Fiscal Officer Danielle Romanowski, which extends the purchase of a new Ford Explorer to 2020 and requires a replacement Xerox copier to be scheduled for 2023.

Village officials are still investigating the whereabouts of a Microsoft Surface tablet that was stolen from the Building Department on July 12 according to Mrs. Romanowski’s list, which also calls for an HP laptop that is “at least 10 years old” to be scheduled for replacement.

In 2021, Mr. Berger said the Building Department would work on fixing, painting and cleaning the drywall in the department’s bathroom as well as cleaning the carpeting and replacing the aforementioned old laptop.

Members heard the latest updates after attending interviews to fill the position of fire marshall. Mayor Koons said he would interview candidates and present his recommendations to Village Council. Building Commissioner David Hocevar reminded everyone that the new fire marshall would need to work with his department to best serve residents.

Committee members entered into a 24-minute executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss the employment of a public official but took no action afterwards, Mayor Koons said.

The next South Russell Village Building Committee meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Oct. 1 at Village Hall, 5205 Chillicothe Road.

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