Howard County Commissioners Rescind Permit Fee 10/21/13
October 21, 2013
On one hand, the oil boom is a blessing to Howard County's coffers. On the other hand, damage to roads from heavy trucks has proven costly.
"Commissioners court has a right to maintain the county roads and charge a reasonable fee," said Howard County Judge Mark Barr.
So thatís what the county commissioners tried to do, in the form of a road access fee. Any business building a driveway to connect to a county road, would have to pay $2500 for a permit.
"There are laws and taxes in place that already cover this and theyíre adding additional laws and additional taxes that we feel are not legal," says Jeff Beard, Land Manager of CrownQuest Operations.
He says the ordinance unfairly targets oil companies, and they, along with numerous companies considered litigation.
"We feel that itís unconstitutional and it is unfairly targeting an industry thatís brought a tremendous amount of growth to the community," Beard said.
"I have to disagree with the unconstitutional part, I think where the contingent comes down to is whatís a reasonable fee," Barr said.
The original fee was $4500 before being lowered. At this point, the county says they are going to do more research and could decide to redesign the permit fee.
Judge Barr said they didnít have an estimate of how much revenue the permit fee would raise. It costs about $80,000 to put Sealcote on one mile of road. So these fees would have helped the situation, but they definitely werenít the solution.