Construction Permitting

By: Mike Lease

2011 is off and running.  The signs are strong that we are now slowly pulling out of this great recession. Interest rates for the moment remain low, and unemployment for Texas at least shows strong signs of rebounding. The U.S. gained 192,000 total nonfarm jobs in February 2011. Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 22,700 jobs for the same period or 12% of the nation’s new jobs.

But challenges still remain. National state and local revenue deficits remain the toughest issue facing law makers. These deficits mean cuts in employees as well as services in most cases. Those cuts affect us all even the construction industry.

 When asked what I see to be our greatest challenges in the construction industry today, it has to be navigating the multiple municipal requirements for construction permitting. Cities in general are working with deficit budgets and major staffing reductions due to dwindling sales tax receipts and declining property taxes.

 To complicate the situation even more no two cities follow the same procedure for permitting or even maintains the same procedure for permitting month after month. 

 The catch 22 here is more than obvious. The problem is a lack of revenues from sales taxes and property taxes, and the solution is ringing cash registers and more new construction. I find it appalling that the only way to move the bureaucratic mountain is for the customer to call crying to their elected officials. Speaking as a business owner, I hope all cities realize the conflict here and reinvest in their own development.

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