Council approves price hike for vacation rental permit fee

by Marianne Gasaway

Owners of vacation properties in Clear Lake will soon be notified of an increase in permit fees.  The Clear Lake City Council approved raising the yearly fee from $150 to $500 per year at its Monday night, Sept. 21, meeting.

The increase is the result of the city contracting with Bergland & Cram, of Mason City, to provide property inspection services for any residential property, dwelling or condominium used partially or in full for lodging of guests who pay a fee or other compensation for a period of less than one month.  The inspections will ensure that the properties are compliant with local, state and national building codes.

City Administrator Scott Flory told the Council the growing number of vacation rental properties has stretched human resources available to do the inspections thin.

“Currently there are about 50 vacation rentals that are registered with the city,” explained Flory.  “We only have a building department of one person to conduct those yearly inspections.  Bergland & Cram will provide a more thorough, enhanced service.  This is a good opportunity to improve our process by outsourcing.”

The fee increase will cover the $450 Bergland and Cram will charge for each inspection, with the remaining $50 applied to the City’s time and oversight of the permit.

Letters will go out soon to current permit holders informing them of the new fee.  Permits expire Sept. 30.

Flory said most inspections take place January-March.

The City established an ordinance requiring vacation rentals to be registered with the City and inspected in 2017.

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