By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette — Demolition contractors may have to pay a registration fee to work in Niagara Falls.
The city council will vote this week on a resolution put forth by Chairman Sam Fruscione that would require all demolition contractors working in Niagara Falls to register with the city.
“The number of demolition companies in the city has increased in recent years and the city has to take this registration step in order to determine the professional qualifications and reasonably regulate the demolition business within our city,” Fruscione said in a prepared statement.
The measure would also add two members to the seven person registration review board. There must be at least two home improvement contractors and one demolition contractor who reside or have their place of business in the city on the board. The mayor appoints all board members, according to the amended ordinance.
“The demand for demolitions is going to increase into the foreseeable future and we have to take the necessary steps now to regulate the companies, ensure that the work is done properly and guard public safety as the work is carried out,” Fruscione said.
Demolition contractors would pay an annual fee of $1,000 and show proof of insurance to register with the city. Home improvement contractors pay a fee of $125 a year, according to the amended ordinance.
Mayor Paul Dyster said that demolition registration fees would be higher than home improvement fees because of the nature of the work.
“There is a large number of small firms that do home improvement work in the city and a small number of large firms that do demolitions,” he said.
Dystersaid that demolition contractors may view the registration fee as a tax, but the city is trying to offset the cost of services provided to the businesses without pushing those costs onto taxpayers.
“You’re basically asking the people using the services of the city to pay fees,” Dyster said. “If we’re capable of regaining some or all of the costs associated with regulating and providing services for private sector businesses then we can avoid taxing the residents of the city.”