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Proposed inspection fees to get a hearing

June 17, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council is to hold a public hearing today on a proposed ordinance to impose water and sewer plan review and inspection fees.

The proposal lists lower costs than an earlier plan floated by the city. Officials of the Home Builders Association of Washington County had said the fees in the earlier proposal were too high.

If approved at a July 1 meeting, the fees will go into effect Aug. 1.

The city wants to charge fees to developers to cover city costs related to plan reviews and inspections of new developments, city Finance Director Al Martin said.

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Those expenses - estimated to be $150,000 to $200,000 annually - currently are paid by all city water and sewer customers. If the fees are approved, only those causing the costs to be incurred would be charged, he said.

The fees are not intended to make a profit for the city, city officials have said.

The version of the proposal made public in May would have generated about $300,000 a year, according to estimates provided by Debi Turpin, Home Builders Association executive director.

Turpin, in a May 2 letter, said the proposed fees would hurt both the building and development industry and residents, and would deter economic development.

City and association officials have since met and a new proposal was developed, Martin said.

The new proposal is more realistic and the association is more agreeable to the fees, Turpin said Monday.

Under the proposal, the city would charge a $50 application fee to all new water and sewer customers.

Additional charges would include a plan review fee of 50 cents per foot of water or sewer line and an inspection fee of $3 per foot of water and sewer line, according to city documents.

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