The cost of home construction, renovation and improvements is changing as city officials react to a newly-approved state law.

Exactly how much has yet to be determined, City Planner Jai McBride told the El Campo City Council during Monday’s session, adding the effect on city revenues also is unknown.

Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to sign HB 852 into law on May 21 stops El Campo and all other Texas cities from charging residential permits based on the value of the structure, a common practice.

“All of our fees are based on value,” McBride said, adding she anticipated revisions for council’s review at the upcoming June 24 session.

The fiscal impact is still to be determined, but is already being felt to some degree.

“In the interim, we’re using the base fee for right now. Unfortunately it’s all we can do. We are going to lose some money in the long run,” City Attorney Ronny Collins told council.

The base construction fee permit is $25.

Before HB 852, the permit cost for the first $1,000 added another $25 going up from there in the City of El Campo. At the highest previous level, a permit for the first $500,000 was $1,919.50 plus $2.50 for each additional thousand in value.

The plan now, McBride said, is to come up with a similar fee schedule based solely on square footage without unduly burdening citizens.

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