Durham officials are proposing an ordinance that would establish fees for inspections by the fire marshal's office.
William Witecki, the town's fire marshal, said the fees would more fairly place the burden of the cost of his department on businesses or organizations that require inspections.
"Taxpayers are all paying for them now, because they're paying for our budget," Witecki said at a July 9 public hearing on the proposed ordinance. "This would help cover our costs."
The proposed permits — which number about 50 — and their fees were drafted by comparing fire marshal's office fees in Somers, Stratford and Wilton, Witecki said.
The fees required by the proposed ordinance include a $50 fee for daycare inspections and a $50 fee for inspection of bleachers or grandstands. The new fees would also have an impact on the town's largest event — the Durham Fair.
Vendors requiring an inspection at a concession stand would be required to pay $10. Under the proposal, non-profit groups would only be required to pay 50 percent of any fee.
"It's not even the cost of a sandwich," said Witecki, whose department spends hundreds of hours inspecting the fairgrounds before and during the fair.
"It's probably equal to what we do for the rest of the town over the course of the year," he said.
A second ordinance proposed by Witecki would give the town of Durham the ability to establish fire lanes in the town and would allow authorities to enforce the restricted areas.
Currently, fire lanes that exist at the town's schools are not enforceable except in the case of an emergency, said Witecki.
"I think it's high time this ordinance be passed," said selectman Steve Levy, who previously served as the town's fire chief and cited experience with vehicles parked in the fire lanes at schools.
"This will help the fire department do its job," Levy said.
The proposed ordinance will require the approval of voters at a town meeting which has yet to be scheduled.