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City maximum fines may increase

June 02, 1999

Proposed changes to the Hagerstown Property Maintenance Code include increases to almost all maximum fine amounts and a new provision that would permit the city to fine property owners for not cleaning graffiti within 120 days.

To be adopted, the changes must be approved by the City Council. Council members are expected to vote June 22 to introduce the changes, then vote again in July to formally adopt the revised code.

During a Tuesday meeting of the mayor and City Council, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he had a problem with fining people who are the victims of graffiti.

The proposed changes to the code would permit the city to fine property owners up to $100 for not removing graffiti from their property within 120 days.

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Metzner said he would prefer that the city offer to help property owners remove the graffiti.

Councilman William M. Breichner said the proposed fine would be "the burden of being a property owner."

The maximum fine amounts for code violations were increased from $200 to $1,000. Most fine amounts are substantially lower than the maximum.

Mike Heyser, Hagerstown building inspector, said the fine amount increases will act as a better deterrent for violating the city code.

On Tuesday, council members did not request any changes to the proposed code.

- Dan Kulin

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