After striking it from their regular meeting agenda last week, Ottawa city commissioners on Monday again discussed revisions to current contractor licensing fees.
After the move, Richard Nienstedt, city manager, recommended commissioners resume their historical practice of considering agenda items for at least two weeks before placing them on their meeting agenda.
“There’s very few things that are that urgent,” he said. “It gives you the opportunity to talk with your constituents, and answer questions. It also gives staff the opportunity to take close looks at items, as well.”
According to a memo sent to commissioners, proposed changes to the contractor licensing structure include first issuing a license to the contractor as a company, and then subsequently licensing each professional associated with the company. Under the current system, one master-designation professional is licensed along with the company, and then each subsequent professional is licensed.
The current licensing rates are $125 for a master electrician, plumber or HVAC professional with their company, and $20 for each additional professional licensed. Under the proposed system, licensing rates would be $175 for a electrical, plumbing or HVAC company, and $20 for each of their master or journeyman-designation professionals.
Other fee hikes would include: Class A, $175 to $225; Class B, $175 to $210; Class C, $175 to $190; Class R, $75 to $125; Class S, $75 to $100.
If passed, the revisions would mark the first time contractor license fees have been raised since 2011. Tom Weigand, city commissioner, raised a question about the cost of issuing licenses corresponding to the proposed prices. City staff responded they estimated the increased prices were proportionate to the labor involved in the licensing process, along with software upgrades made over the past decade.
The commission plans to continue discussing the item Monday.
In other news, the city:
• Discussed a revised 2020 funding agreement with the Ottawa Main Street Association.
“From what’s been presented to us, both in letter form and in contract, expressing their intention to move forward with a new organizational structure with the same mission — I’m pretty impressed with their professionalism,” said Tom Weigand, city commissioner.
• Heard an update on the status of the Ottawa Memorial Auditorium. The OMA’s frequency of usage has risen from 52 events in 2016 to 234 events in 2019. March 15, 2021, will be the 100th anniversary of the OMA’s existence.
• Placed an item on their Dec. 18 meeting agenda to change the commission’s regular meeting time on the third Wednesday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The commission plans to vote on the item at their regular meeting Wednesday.