Liberty Township fiscal officer Mark Gerber last week told township trustees they should use Delaware County rather than Powell services for commercial construction permits and inspections.

Liberty Township fiscal officer Mark Gerber last week told township trustees they should use Delaware County rather than Powell services for commercial construction permits and inspections.

He said he agreed with former trustee John Schuette's comments at a previous meeting, but added that the township could turn the services into a revenue stream.

Schuette had said his concern was that using Powell's services gave the city first-hand knowledge on commercial business coming to the township, making it easier for the city to approach landowners about annexation.

After Schuette's comments, Gerber said he compared the commercial building fees of Powell to the county and found that county services cost "significantly less" than Powell.

The decision the township made 15-20 years ago to use Powell's commercial building services should be changed to county's services instead, he said.

"Since the county is so much less (in cost) than Powell, we should add an administrative fee so we can generate revenues of the building inspections in the township," Gerber said. "It's a win-win situation. People building (commercially) in the township pay less for the inspections and the township makes money."

Trustee Peggy Guzzo said that it is important for the township to maintain a good relationship with the city, because if the city were to conform its boundaries -- secede from the township -- the township would lose a good deal of property tax revenue that it continues to collect from annexed properties.

"When land is annexed into Powell, we retain about 82 percent of the tax that we would normally get, but Powell would have to service (the property) with police and have to maintain the roads," Guzzo said. "We get that benefit because Powell is still part of Liberty Township; they did not conform their boundaries. It behooves us to have a good relationship with Powell."

Trustee Curt Sybert said the township is "looking for ways to entice more business into the township.

"I'm for all ways to be tried to generate revenue," Sybert said. "If new commercial development can pay their fair share by way of lowering these permit fees we may be forced to look at moving that to Delaware. We have to look at ways to bring revenue into the township. That's our jobs."

Sybert recommended the trustees look into the issue during an upcoming work session.

Powell public information officer Jeff Robinson later told ThisWeek that in 2008 the amount the city collected in commercial building fees for services rendered in the unincorporated area of the township was $164,547. In 2007, the city collected $259,982. In addition, he said, the township fire department collected $8,185 for fire inspection fees. He also said the township received $1,595 in administration fees from the commercial construction in 2008.

"Much of the money that comes into the department are from the various Liberty Township permit fees goes toward different expenses," Robinson said in an e-mail. "A portion -- 20 percent -- of the plumbing fees from Liberty Township goes to the Delaware General Health District. Much of the other fees goes to pay the department expenses -- salaries, insurance, etc. -- though it is hard to determine exactly what percentage of the department's overall expenses comes specifically from the Liberty Township commercial fees.

"While we certainly stand by the services provided by our building department, it is the township's prerogative to pursue other options for those services if it so desires. We would be happy to sit down with township officials at any time to address any concerns they may have with the process," Robinson said.