Midwest City hits pause on fire inspection fees
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Midwest City will not charge fees for fire code inspections –at least for now.
Mayor Matt Dukes said the city will hold off on the new fee schedule that included charges for annual inspections as well as new construction. City leaders plan to reevaluate the plan after pushback from local business owners and nonprofits.
The city council approved the ordinance in November. The item included fees for new construction and annual inspections for properties. The fees range from $50 to $100 and would be added to monthly utility bills. It was recommended by the city’s ordinance review committee.
Dukes said the fees were meant to improve public safety and cover some of the cost of the inspections, but not fund a new position in the fire marshal’s office.
“We passed it with all good intentions, but sometimes things have unintended consequences,” Dukes said. “We will have to review it more thoroughly.”
Educational and religious organizations were exempt in the ordinance. Dukes said non-profit organizations should have also been included in that list.
A few residents spoke out against the new fees at last Tuesday’s city council meeting. They said they were concerned about the cost of the fees, lack of communication on the issue, and the city’s motives behind it.
“We are members of this community. We live in Midwest City and we own a business. We love this community and our support and customers. And I would ask that you as a council fight for our businesses just as you fight for our citizens,” said Brittany Hussain, who is co-owner of The Underground Coffee.
Dukes said he’s not sure which direction the city will take with the ordinance but says they do not want to create an undue burden on businesses and nonprofit organizations.
“We might have a light version of the original ordinance, we may tweak it, or we may repeal it totally,” he said.
The new fees were scheduled to begin Jan. 1.