Ramsey proposes rental, septic program rate change

Permit fees could be changing for rental property and septic pumping inspection in the city of Ramsey.

The Ramsey City Council May 14 unanimously introduced an ordinance that would increase the septic system inspection rates and would give newly constructed rental properties a discount on their rental licence costs.

The rental license requires an inspection, however the city is already doing an inspection as part of the building permit and the certificate of occupancy, said Development Services Manager Tim Gladhill.

“In essence, the city is charging twice for the same inspection,” he said.

The change to the fee structure would give a 50 percent credit for new construction while still being sufficient to cover the city’s administrative costs, Gladhill said.

The rental license fee is $75.

Septic pumping

If the city approves the changes introduced May 14 to the septic pumping permit fee, residents will be paying more.

The cost of the inspection will increase from $10 to $20 to cover the cost of program, said Gladhill.

Minnesota statute requires “…owners of subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS) … (to) visually inspect for damage to private septic systems.”

The owner must also measure or remove certain accumulations at a frequency of not less than once every three years, according to Gladhill.

“The city is responsible for administering the septic program for the community in compliance with Minnesota Rules 7080,” he said.

But the expenses for administrating the program exceed the money generated by the current fee, Gladhill said.

“There are currently approximately 4,200 private septic systems in the community. Approximately 1,500 letters are sent annually as reminders for the required three-year inspection, which could include a requirement for pumping,” he said.

The city does not have sufficient staff to administrator the program and will continue to fall further out of compliance if an adjustment to the program is not made, Gladhill said.

According to Gladhill, to make the program more efficient, the city will implement a new software system, begin a process to revise the permit application, contract for bulk mailing services and share resources with other departments for data entry.

The proposed $10 increase will not cover all of the costs, but it will bring it to an acceptable level, Gladhill said.

This rate has not changed since 2005, said Councilmember Randy Backous.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]