On Thursday, the La Crosse City Council approved dropping permits and fees for homeowners updating their windows and siding. Roofing projects will still need to get a permit.
Anyone who obtained a permit after January 1, 2014 is eligible for a refund.
It was a split vote Tuesday night from La Crosse city leaders on whether to get rid of permits and fees for certain improvement projects.
In a 10 to 6 vote, the Committee of the Whole voted to remove the building permit and $31 fee for replacing siding, and windows. However, the city will keep permits and fees for replacing roofing.
La Crosse mayor Tim Kabat argued for getting rid of the permits and fees saying it will give inspectors more time for code enforcement and rental inspections. He said the current system is too time consuming. "The result is in many cases our inspectors than have to make multiple visits to those properties to do the pre-inspections, after the work is done, again that is taking away very limited staff resources," said Kabat.
But at least one local contractor doesn't agree with the idea. "To totally get rid of permits in general, I think, it puts homeowners at risk. The reason we set those in place to begin with was for storm chasers, fly-by-night companies," said Alex Koonce from Ledegar Roofing.
The proposal will now go to the full city council on Thursday for a vote.