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Council backs waiving permit fees

December 09, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said Tuesday she's changed her mind and supports waiving almost $37,000 in permit fees for a $9 million renovation contract for South Hagerstown High School.

A majority of council members agreed informally Tuesday to waive the fees. They still need to formally approve the waiver.

Saum-Wicklein said a former schoolmate called her, telling her there was a perception that the South End does not get the same benefits as the North End. She is the only elected city official who lives in the South End. The others live in the North End.

Saum-Wicklein said she still had a problem waiving the fees, but would support a waiver this time.

She asked Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II to appoint a committee to develop a policy to handle requests from government agencies and nonprofit groups to waive permit fees.

While the council has historically waived permit fees for such groups, as it did for North Hagerstown High School several years ago, that is not a formal policy, she said.

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Saum-Wicklein had adamantly opposed waiving the fees at two previous meetings because the city is facing tight financial years ahead and the Washington County Board of Education assumed the fees would be waived instead of asking.

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