Complaints about what was mistakenly thought to be a fee added to building permits because of Hurricane Harvey led to a lengthy discussion and an executive session for City Council Tuesday.

The Municipal Solid Waste fee has been in effect since 2001, and it's on utility bills for businesses, residents, and contractors.

The fee used to be collected at the dump is instead being added to all building permit applications as of October, and for some local roofing contractors, it's too much.

"We have been in business for 40 years here. We have never, ever been charged this fee at all," Mike Robinson with Berryman Roofing says this fee will go straight to the consumer in increased costs.

"We can't go back to these customers and tell say, hey, you're going to owe us two or three hundred dollars. We can't do that. That's not right."

Lawrence Mikolajczyk, Solid Waste Director, says the fee wasn't being fairly applied to those seeking building permits which result in construction materials being taken to the landfill without charge.

"When you go to Development Services, and you pull a permit for roofing, you pull a permit for a new home; you pull a permit for a remodel, all of those are subject to an area of the MSW chart."

Mikolajczyk showed Council a chart describing an average 2,000 square foot single family home. A permit to build that house would cost 120 dollars.

For contractors like Robinson, it's a cost that has been paid by his customers. "So if we go in and a house has 35 squares lets say, for example. That's going to cost us 266 dollars that we did not when we made our bid to our customers."

Mikolajczyk says $77,000 has been collected since the fee was applied to building permits.

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