Elkton Waives $30,000 in Building Permit Fees for Nonprofit Housing Group

Elkton Town Hall, Aug. 18, 2010Homes for America, a nonprofit corporation providing housing for lower and moderate income households and special populations, operates two sites in Elkton.  As the company gears up to rehabilitate units at Chesapeake Apartments and Foxridge Development, they asked for a resolution of support and the waiver of $30,000 in permit fees.

When the company pitched its request at the previous workshop, a couple of the elected officials exchanged worried glances as they asked the municipality to waive the fees.  “I don’t know if we can do that.  We got in trouble over that, ” Mayor Joseph Fisona responded.  Adding some additional remarks, Commissioner Jablonski turned to the town attorney to ask for his feedback.  “We wave fees all the time,” Norman Wilson answered.  “Where we got into trouble was when we waived them for utility hooks and permitted the transfer of the [financial] credits.  This is for building permit fees.”  

After the board approved the request and the public’s turn arrived, Jim Crouse cautioned officials about continuing to waive fees.  “You realize you can’t continue to do this?  . . . .  Everyone has their case for why their fees should be waived and they’re going to want a waiver.”  if  Elkton really wants to provide financial support, a direct donation out of the budget might be a more straightforward and equitable way to handle public contributions he mused.  “it’s a matter of the terms of how you do it,” he concluded.

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