According to the Federal Small Business Administration, the cost of complying with regulations for the typical small business is $10,500. Per year. Per employee.
Sonshine Christian Kindergarten can only wish they were that low.
Last year, Vancouver, Washington’s Faith Baptist Church voted to begin a Kindergarten program in one wing of its church building. The State Department of Early Learning told Principal Rosemary Warner that the church would need to get a Certificate of Occupancy for Childcare from the county in order to open the Kindergarten.
The church was intending to use an existing building that’s being used for daycare. It already passes regular fire and health inspections, and has an existing Certificate of Occupancy. And they’d already paid traffic impact fees when they built the building back in 1997. So, no problem, right?
We-e-e-ll. . . .
In order to get the new Certificate of Occupancy, county planners told the church they would need to pay for:
Traffic Impact Fees $17,500
Frontage improvements if traffic increases by 10% 17,000
Site Plan Review Process 11,479
Traffic Study 3,000+
Civil Engineer 11,000+
Building Permit 3,000+
Unisex Restroom 15,000
Playground gate & equipment 1,000
10 doors 5,000
That’s for a Kindergarten with 10-14 students, one teacher and one principal. It works out to over $40,000 per employee per year.
And it’s just for this year. The church plans to add a grade each year. And the county says this will involve additional traffic impact fees of $17,500 for each new class of 18 students added.
Clark County’s preliminary unemployment rate in June was 9.1 percent. And the State Employment Security Department expects the final figure to be roughly 11 percent due to residents who lost jobs in Oregon and aren’t accounted for in the current number.
Businesses hire employees, right? So naturally the County is doing everything it can to help new businesses get off the ground, right?
Warner says if they’d known before they began how much the fees would be, they probably wouldn’t have even tried. But they weren’t expecting much in the way of impact fees, since they weren’t building anything.
And now they’ve got ten students enrolled and a teacher hired. So the church of “barely 100″ members, according to Wells, is pressing on, trying to get grants and donors to help with the mind-boggling county fees.
The good news is, this isn’t a federal or even a state problem. These fees are imposed solely by our own county commissioners: Tom Mielke, Marc Boldt and Steve Stuart. Have three minutes? You can drop them a quick note right here and ask them to use code to help, not strangle, Sonshine Christian Kindergarten and other new businesses in Clark County.
We can bring down the unemployment rate one job at a time. But we have to get the government off our backs.
H/T to couv.com