Town to County: We’ll Wait 2 Years Before Collecting $200,000 in fees for Detention Center

Elkton Town Hall, July 21, 2010 – A few days ago the county commissioners approached Elkton’s elected officials to ask if they could get some relief on nearly $500,000 in building permits and utility hook ups fees related to expansion of the detention center.  Of those charges, $384,750 was for the major utility fund.   The county suggested they would pay for all the permits, but proposed the town cut the utility hook-up fee in half.  That would reduce revenue for that fund by $192,375.  In this evening’s meeting Mayor Fisona counter proposed, saying that the town would defer collecting 50% of the utility fund (nearly $200,000) for two years after construction while collecting the other revenue now.  The Elkton board thought the counter proposal was a good idea, so they’re going to see if that alternative is satisfactory to Cecil County.

Update

In the meeting, the mayor indicated the town would defer collection of one-half of the maj0r utility fund fee and said “we’ll see what happens.”  We’ve followed up this morning and through a FOIA request acquired the letter that was sent to the county since it provides more insight on what the town is counter-proposing.

When the mayor said, “We’ll see what happens” here is what he was referring to.  The water usage at the detention center will be monitored for expected water conservation efficiencies.  Following the two year period, the town will evaluate water usage at the facility to determine if any additional major facilities charge are warranted beause of an additional burden on the municipal system.

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6 responses to “Town to County: We’ll Wait 2 Years Before Collecting $200,000 in fees for Detention Center

  1. Since they’re setting the precedent, would they allow other users of the system 2 years to make their payments? Or, will they claim it’s just for other political entities?

    I think developers will be asking that question privately. Maybe someone should ask publicly?

    • Wayne:

      Now you know how they are with developing a plan as in having a policy to provide direction and then generally follow through. That’s not the way it’s done.

      The local developes are already lining up for their waiver, just at a time when an account has informed them that their major utlity fund is $500,000 short and the forecast is for it to need more revenue and virtually no new building is occuring.

      They have a recommendation from that account that they need to raise their rates nearly 60% over four years. They’d voted to approve that rate increase just after the election and as soon as they voted the administration informed them that they had a problem with the major utlity fund. It too needed more revenue. So back to the accountant they went and they’re going to vote on a bigger increase soon. .

      It it were me. I’d want a policy. Waivers that were for the larger public good (i.e, county and city taxpayers) would receive a much more favorable consideration, than a private developer. That would get them started in a general sort of way to discuss it.

      What’s interesting about this senior housing thing, is that it really could be a good idea for Elkton. It’s not unheard to have these types of incentives, but the way the town political leadership handled it in the public, you couldn’t tell if it was a good idea or not.

      It come up at a workshop when no one was there to hear about it and the subject wasn’t posted on the agenda. The politicans were the ones that had the info on it, not the professional staff. I think the staff learned about it when the commissioners came in with a proposal. After that as the Judge said “They really wanted this to happen, didn’t they!” there was no stoppnig them despite the practical issues & professional staff and one commissioner kept pointing out. It didn’t meet the zoning district, parking lots aren’t permitted, it’s the wrong size lot, we’ve never waived fees like this before, we’ve never waived major utility fees for a parking lot an then allowed them to be transferred to another party. That’s what the judge was talking about when he remarked citizens kept pointing out where they weren’t in compliance with their own ordinances and they wanted to go back and rewrite the laws long afer they’d approved the actions.

      You know what’s interesting is if they’d have turned this over to the professional staff, they’d have made much better decisions and worked through those problems in some systematic professional way.

      I truly can’t understand why they don’t do that. Tell the professional staff what the problem or opportunity is, let them have time to anlayze it and come back with an action pathway, and then implement the actions.

      They get better thought out decisions and still probably get mostly what they wanted. But “they really wanted this to happen.”

  2. What the HELF. Let Ole Sam get this here one right. It’ll help Yosemite with his campaign. It’s dang OK to waive those fees for any private fella that shows up at a town meeting asking for it.
    But then dang it. All at once when it’s going to come out of Ole Sam’s pocket cause I’m an Elkton taxpayer that has to pay those dang county taxes, it aint’ OK.

    They should waive that dang one too. Dont them town fathers know thats costing us taxpayers right in our wallet since we gonna pay for it too. Wave that dang fee and charge them there private fellas that show up.

    What the HELF. What the HELF, that’s what Ole Sam Says.

    Don’t forget, Ole Sam for mayor. Can’t do no dang worse.

  3. Mike,

    The ONLY reason someone runs for local office is for the public recognition, demonstration of authority — in short, for the power that it conveys.

    Yes – you can dress it up, call it something else – and for the truly rare occasion when you find someone who doesn’t need the money they might get from the position — it’s still the “Power” the position promises.

    If they cede that power to someone they perceive to have less power and authority, then that their power diminishes. You’ll probably see something different from anyone who has managed personnel, because they often can admit that their employees are smarter.

    What do you think?

  4. Wayne,

    I think you are correct for the majority. However, when I ran for Town Commissioner, it was certainly not for the money and it was not for a need of power. I had no agenda, I just wanted to represent Elkton and be 1/5 of the vote. I do understand that a degree of power is inherent with that, but it was not my motivation for running at all.

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