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Council discusses waiving permits fees for school work

December 01, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown City Council members couldn't decide Tuesday whether to waive almost $37,000 in permit fees for a $9 million renovation contract for South Hagerstown High School.

After the four council members at Tuesday's work session split over the issue, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the council would discuss the matter again on Dec. 8.

Councilman Alfred W. Boyer was absent Tuesday, but he said last week that the city should waive the permit fees because they were waived for North Hagerstown High School's renovation several years ago.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure agrees. "We need to be a city united and not divided," he said.

McClure said the council should be sensitive to the request because five of the city's six elected officials live in the North End.

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Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein, the only elected city official living in the South End, said she appreciated McClure's comments, but disagreed.

"We are not in a position to waive these costs" because the city is facing tight fiscal years ahead, she said.

Dennis McGee, director of facilities management for the Washington County Board of Education, said he did not ask whether the city would waive the fees before submitting the request.

"I didn't ask because historically we've had that courtesy extended to us," McGee said.

Of the almost $37,000 in permit fees to be paid by the contractor, the city's actual labor costs are expected to be $13,171, City Engineer Bruce Johnston said.

The fire marshal inspection costs are the highest part of the actual costs, with $5,830 for 200 hours worth of work, according to a memo from Johnston.

With that in mind, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the school board should have the state fire marshal's office inspect the project. The state doesn't charge.

If the city fire marshal's office does the work, the city should be reimbursed by Washington County through the tax differential.

City officials have said they want to negotiate a new formula for the tax differential, or rebate, because they don't think the city is getting its fair share.

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