Jefferson County has agreed to give Rigby 25% of building permit fees if the city agrees to continue the contract with the county.

City of Rigby officials have been pursuing ways the building permit process could bring money into the city. The city does not currently receive a portion of the fees through the contract with the county. Toward the end of 2019, city officials considered contracting with the Idaho Division of Building Safety (DBS), which completes building permits for Menan and Ririe and gives each city a portion of permit fees.

With the possibility of losing Rigby to DBS, county planning and zoning officials began looking at the work Rigby employees put into the building permit process. Kevin Hathaway, county planning and zoning administrator, told city council members the county could not give the city money at random.

“You have to justify, you can’t just give money back,” Hathaway said. “That creates all sorts of problems, I think.”

Hathaway initially estimated the city completed about 19% of the work on building permits, but asked if the city had more details regarding city employees’ contribution. After discussing with Rigby Mayor Jason Richardson and other city officials, Hathaway amended the number to between 23% and 25%. Hathaway said the city would have received $21,000 in 2019 from a 20% rebate.

Kallie Streeper, contract program specialist with DBS, said if Rigby contracted with DBS, the city would receive 30% of building permit fees. She said that percentage is typical, but does vary depending on staffing.

Hathaway told council members he believes there are benefits to local taxpayers if the council chooses to continue the city’s contract with Jefferson County.

“Even if you get the same deal (with DBS), the fact (is) that those permit fees that are collected go to Boise, and basically never return, they go into a different fund that are used all over the state,” Hathaway said. “All the permit fees that are paid here, the way we’re currently structured through the county, are used here, in the city and the county.”

The city council has yet to decide whether to continue with the county or begin working with the state. Council members will likely consider the topic in their meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow.