HomeTabernacle NewsTo Pay or Not to Pay

To Pay or Not to Pay

First reading of ordinance passed would make churches pay inspection fees

The Tabernacle Committee passed an ordinance for first reading that sets the fee schedule for the inspections that will be conducted by new fire marshal. Most of the discussion centered around if churches and other houses of worship would have to pay for the inspections or be exempt from such fees.

On the meeting agenda, question marks were in the space where an amount, if any, was supposed to be. Tabernacle Construction Official Thomas Boyd estimated the minimum amount of time it would take for the fire marshal to inspect a smaller church would be one hour — a half-hour in the field and a half-hour doing paperwork. For the larger facilities, it is estimated to take two hours. There are five operating houses of worship in Tabernacle.

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“I am not opposed to giving the houses of worship a break on this,” Committeeman Richard Franzen said during the ordinance discussion. “To me, either way is fine. Either we cut the rate in half, or we say ‘Upon Request,’ we approve the rate because they are nonprofit organizations.”

“The intention of the fees would be to cover the cost of the individual doing the position as well as other items such as computers and stationery,” Boyd stated.

“It is a tough one,” Township Committeeman Joseph Barton added. “Attending one of the churches in town myself when I am here, I have to look at it and say that it is reasonable that they cover the fair cost of the inspection because it benefits the building. I suspect not 100 percent of the residents of Tabernacle do not go to the houses of worships that are here. If 100 percent of the township did, I could see giving it an exemption, but I suspect that is not the case, so I would be in favor of us recovering the cost of what it takes to do the inspection.”

A public hearing on this ordinance is scheduled for March 27.

In other news:

The discussion about the 2017 municipal budget was tabled until March 13. The move was made to allow all five committeemen present to review and discuss the items in the budget. Last night, there were three committee members in attendance.


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