A Money Grab?


Apr 5, 2024
A friend of mine said something interesting the other day and it got me thinking. He said permits nowadays are more about making money for the city/town than they are about safety.

What are your thoughts?
United States
There could be some truth to that but I think it really depends on the specific permit office that we're talking about. They all seem to vary in terms of how they balance their salaries/budgets against the permit fees they charge. For example, Dallas' building department was in the news recently because it had to abruptly hike permit fees 2,700% after a decade without any fee increases. Prior to the increase, Dallas had been losing $20 million per year and that shortfall had to be offset by taxpayer funds. You really can't accuse building departments operating like Dallas' was of any kind of "money grab," right?

On the other hand, there also permit offices that fund more than just permitting functions with the fees they collect. For example, I know some sheriff's offices fund general departmental operations with their concealed carry permit revenue. When permit fees are funding more than just labor for permit application reviews/inspections, I agree that the term "money grab" becomes a little more applicable.
They don't get your money and hand over you the permit. It is not something like buying grocery. Before they give you permit they inspect your project, they analyze your project and they have people to work on it, so they are actually spending more money for your permit approval than you are actually giving them for permit application.
I think in some regards you may be right. Especially if they end up overcharging for permits. I can see some permitting offices requiring more than they should for certain permits.

I get that permits cost money depending on what is being done, but it should be at least affordable. I think some permit offices rely on the money they make from permit submissions, but I also think some don't need it.

Plus, wouldn't permitting offices fall under the government? SO they could take care of their offices and employees and pay them well so that the permitting costs don't come back on us too much.
I think when it starts to be too costly for permits, then it's a cash grab. I understand some permits will cost more than others, and that's totally fine. But it's when a permit costs more than it should, when I start to question where the money could be going.