HIGH SPRINGS – High Springs is experiencing an upward trend in construction starts this year. One telling indication is the increase in residential home building permits, which have jumped to 21 permits issued in the first five months of the year, surpassing permits issued for all of 2012, which stood at 18.

Another indication is the increase in building permit fees collected for additions and remodeling, which have skyrocketed from the 2011/2012 budget year amount of $45,080 to the current year-to-date amount of $97,773.

Recent enforcement of occupational license fees for businesses based in the city have also increased revenues this calendar year by an additional $1,314.

“While business licensing was previously required, it had not been enforced for some time,” said High Springs City Manager Ed Booth. “These are companies that perform services in the city like lawn maintenance, but never obtained an occupational license to operate in our city.”

City Hall records show that approximately 80 new business licenses have been issued this year to companies working within the city limits of High Springs.

As all of these funds have increased, so have the possibilities for more building construction permits. Booth is optimistic about the future as he talks about a planned expansion of Plantation Oaks and the addition of 90 units in three new buildings at Camp Kulaqua.

In a recent interview Booth said, “I am in constant contact with the people at Plantation Oaks and Camp Kulaqua. I anticipate applications will be coming into our office soon. However, with the money that has already been brought in for permits to do smaller jobs, like remodeling or additions to existing structures, plus the addition of business license fees, we have already taken in more than the amount of money originally budgeted for the Building Department.”

While neither Plantation Oaks nor Camp Kulaqua has submitted their application, the City has told representatives at Plantation Oaks that they must apply for and receive a variance prior to submittal of a request for a building permit. Camp Kulaqua is currently in the process of land clearing for construction, which does not require a permit from the City.

The City of High Springs may be working its way out of the same financial difficulties that have impacted many municipalities over the past several years. “Increased housing starts and commercial improvements to existing large properties will certainly help along the way,” said Booth.

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