To boost the general fund, the Hawthorne City Council will consider charging property owners for building inspections and plan checks that the city Fire Department now does for free.
At its Jan. 11 meeting, the council will discuss resolutions and ordinances necessary to implement such fees. They would bring Hawthorne up to par with surrounding cities, which already charge for fire safety inspections, said Councilman Chuck Bookhammer, who has proposed the program. If all of the approximately 10 categories of fees are implemented, they could bring $280,000 a year to the general fund, he said.
The fees would cover such various things as inspections that ensure businesses and apartment buildings are complying with the uniform fire code and permits for potentially hazardous activities such as fumigating buildings.
Fire Chief Roger Milstead said the fees would probably be set to cover the time put in by the inspectors. Comparable inspection fees in surrounding cities, Milstead said, average about $40. The Fire Department conducts about 2,200 yearly inspections of existing businesses and about 400 plan checks for building or modifying structures in the city.