By Steve Zurier. The Greater Atlanta HBA last February filed a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, claiming that the fees local builders pay for permits are illegal because they don't receive permits in a reasonable time frame. Sandra Cathy, the trade group's director of government affairs, says HBA estimates the annual cost of low service levels to the city at roughly $13 million in lost permit fees and $14 million in uncollected property taxes. "Dozens of builders have stopped building in the city over the years because the process is too cumbersome, and they look at other avenues outside the city, which exacerbates the city's problem of trying to renew urban infrastructure," says Cathy.