Policy Discussion – Credit or Transfer of Major Facility Fees

In reference to the controversial decision made by the mayor and commissioners to allow a credit or transfer of the major facility fees, one of the concerns expressed by citizens was that they had no way of knowing about the action or being able to comment on it until after it was approved.   Well, the town has now posted its minutes from the public meeting where the policy discussion occurred and a straw vote was taken to award the transfer.  Since the town doesn’t stream the public meetings where these discussions occur, one has to wait until the minutes are published at some point after-the fact.  

Whatever the case since that record is now available, we’ve clipped the portion of the minutes pertaining to the decision and copied it below.

 For a full discussion on the subject once it was officially ratified click on the links below the clip of the minutes.

From the Minutes of the Mayor and commissioners Workshop Meeting, Dec. 09, 2009

————————-

Mr. George stated the Town received a request from a property owner on behalf of a developer regarding a transfer of major facility fees from an existing, vacant apartment building at 110 Collins Street, which was slated for demolition, to a proposed Senior Housing apartment building project located on East High Street. Mr. George stated the Town did not have a mechanism in place to transfer hook up fees. Mr. Trostle added the Town had not previously transferred hook up fees from one property to another, adding that, in the case of a demolished building, credits were given for previously paid hook up fees for new construction on the same property.

Mayor Fisona stated the developer of the new apartment building offered to demolish the old building at no cost to the Town. He stated the building was an eyesore and needed to be removed from the neighborhood. Commissioner Jablonski questioned the cost for demolition of the building. Mr. Trostle estimated the costs between $30,000 and $50,000. Commissioner Jablonski stated the developer planned to create a parking lot at the site.  Commissioner Givens questioned who would utilize the proposed parking lot.

Discussion ensued regarding who would benefit from the proposed parking lot. Mr. Wilson stated the developer’s plans were contingent upon the Board’s decision. Commissioner Piner stated the building was a blight on the neighborhood and expressed support for its demolition. He suggested that the Board consider alternatives for the site, such as a playground. Commissioner Storke expressed concerns regarding the parking lot. He stated the neighborhood was zoned Residential, which did not permit parking lots. He questioned if the Board planned to change the Ordinance to permit the lot.

Commissioner Jablonski questioned if a policy could be created to address requests regarding hook fee credits, adding a time limit for using the credits should be incorporated into the policy. Commissioner Piner suggested a 2-year time limit to utilize the credit. Mr. George suggested a Blight Reduction Program which would provide incentive for developers to improve blighted properties. Mayor Fisona queried the Board regarding placing the request to transfer water and sewer hook up fees from the Collins Avenue address to the proposed Senior Housing apartment project on the December 16, 2009 meeting agenda for a decision.

It was the consensus of the Board to place the request on the December 16, 2009 meeting agenda. Commissioner Storke opposed bringing the matter before the Board. Mr. George stated the Town received a request from the Cecil County Public Schools for a $52,000 reduction in fees related to renovations at the Elkton High School. It was the consensus of the Board to reduce the fees related to renovations at the Elkton High School.

————

Additional Articles on this subject

New Blight Reduction Policy & Transfer of $150,000 in Fees Creates Controvery at Elkton Meeting

Editorial:  To Help Citizens Participate in Local Government Publish Workshop Agendas

Official Town Video:  Ingerman Group Contribution for Senior Housing Vote

Official Town Video:  Part II

Official Town Video: Part III

Official Town Video: Part IV (concluding segment)

About these ads

2 responses to “Policy Discussion – Credit or Transfer of Major Facility Fees

  1. Why don’t you share the videos of this meeting too? Minutes of this one added some info, but still there’ s nothing like seeing them, just as we did with the meeting where they repeated the decision they made the first time.

    Curious George

  2. Curious George:

    Actually the Mayor and Commissioners of the Town of Elkton are streaming the video, not Someone Noticed. We just put up link to the You-Tube Channel for the Town of Elkton and that links brings it up here on Someone Noticed.

    But here’s the real challenge with having an informed public. The town only streams about 1/2 of its public meetings. For whatever reason they don’t stream the public sessions they call workshops. Since that’s where the deliberations really occur and the decision is largely debated and made, it would be particularly helpful to broadcast that one too.

    It really would inform citizens and would help with one of the complaints the citizens had at the last meeting. As former Mayor James Crouse said at the last meeting, we don’t know what you’re talking about and the decision is over with before we can offer public comments.

    As to why they would stream the one meeting where all they’re generally doing is formally ratifying a vote for the official record and not the one where they examine the issue in some detail, we can’t say.

    But we sure don’t see the logic in that approach, if the goal is to keep the public informed as some of the commissioners stated.

    That’s about it Curious George.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s