Protesting the new fees

St. Joseph County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wenzel was appointed this week to serve as the administrator of soil-erosion permits.

The move taken by St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners Tuesday means the permits will no longer be the responsibility of the county’s conservation district. In addition, commissioners accepted Wenzel’s recommended revised fee for soil-erosion permits.

The conservation district in November doubled many permit fees, prompting the county’s 16 township supervisors – led by Sherman Township Supervisor Bruce Bart – to protest the new fees. Wenzel said the newly adopted rates better reflect permit fees of neighboring counties.

Meanwhile, Wenzel said he will likely contract the services of an inspector on an as-needed basis rather than add the position to his department.

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