At the Vermilion City Council Meeting on Monday, October 28, 2019, City Council voted to increase a $100 fee penalty for contractors who are not registered to $500.

Council Member Barb Brady said the ordinance bothered her because they are raising the penalty to $500 for working in the city and not being registered. They have raised all the building departments fees, and, in her neighborhood, there is so much work to be done and they’re making some people criminals, and they’re discouraging people from doing work because of the fees. She said there are people that don’t have the extra money to pay these fees, so she would like for the city to find a way to encourage people to improve their homes.

“It bothers me when I sees people sneaking around on the weekends doing the work and maybe being dangerous about it,” said Brady. “But they can’t afford the permits and the contractors. They can hire their neighbor to do their painting, but if you hire a painting contractor they must be registered. However, if they’re painting their house or replacing a window/door, its mind boggling that some of these things need permits and they must use license contractors to do this work.”

Council Member Steve Holovacs said the fees are not going up, so nothing will be different when they vote on the ordinance, and this ordinance has nothing to do with the fees. He said there is a $500 fee penalty for the individual who isn’t licensed.

“The $100 fee was a slap on the hand,” said Holovacs, “and if you are a registered contractor you have worker’s compensation and you know who they are for the protection of the residents, not the protection of the contractors.”

Holovacs said there was a lot of administrative wording changes in the ordinance. They also removed the bonding requirement because it makes the city responsible and not the homeowner, so they eliminated this section. This was from the advice of the Building Inspector and the state.

Tony Valerius, Service Director, said “the $500 fee for catching a contractor that is not registered weeds out the fly-by-night contractor – the contractors who might work out of their car, who come in to do a job and zip out.”

He didn’t feel the $500 penalty was too much as he reviewed this fee with other cities who are comparable.

Council Member John Gabriel said the simple work and smaller jobs he feels should be separated out from the big jobs, but he experienced a contractor situation which cost his neighbor an additional $10,000.

“If contractors follow the process and get licensed then they don’t have to worry about the penalty,” said Gabriel.

5 council members voted in favor of the ordinance. Brady voted against the ordinance. The motion carried.