Increase In Fees Proposed

Would Raise $490,000 For County Coffers

April 22, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

Building permit and other fees would increase, raising an additional$490,000 for cash-strapped county coffers, under proposals reviewed yesterday by the Carroll commissioners.

As quickly as the commissioners counted the dollars that would come from these revenue-generating proposals, they found ways to spend the money, primarily on projects not included in the tentative $115.7 million spending plan for fiscal 1993.

The proposed fees include an increase from $15 to $30 for evaluation of on-site septic systems, a 5-cents monthly phone bill increase for emergency services, a new $25 fee for bad checks, a new charge for reviewing plans for developments in municipalities and an increase in residential and commercial building permit charges. The fees, if approved by the commissioners, would take effect July 1, the first dayof the new fiscal year. The proposed spending plan is 1 percent morethan this year's original $115.1 million budget, which has since been chopped by nearly $7 million.

Raising the application fee for evaluation of on-site septic systems would help cover the costs of administrative and field evaluations, county officials said.

"I don't have a concern about raising the fee as long as the work gets done," Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said. "These on-site waste disposal systems are not working. Systems are failing."

The commissioners plan to write a letter expressing their concerns to environmental health officials.

Increasing the so-called 911 phone fee from 45 cents to 50 cents would raise about $30,000, helping curb an estimated $52,000 shortfall, said Steven D. Powell, director of the Department of Manage

ment and Budget.

"It still does not cover all the cost provided by 911," he said.

In other areas, the county staff has proposedreducing the discount for paying property taxes early from 2 percentto 1 percent in July and from 1 percent to 0.5 percent in August. Powell said the reductions would net about $370,000.

"I think that'swise in these crisis times," Lippy said.

Building permit fees forsome houses and commercials buildings also would rise. Fees on houses, for example, would be charged according to the total square footage of the house, instead of the current practice of assessing unfinished and finished portions at different rates.

Among the issues the commissioners are tentatively looking to include in the budget are: $24,300 for an administrative secretary/receptionist in the Human Services Program; $9,500 for equipment, including bulletproof vests for sheriff's officers; $600 for cable television for prisoners at the Carroll County Detention Center; $10,000 for planning for a service roadaccess study for Liberty Road; and $30,000 to repair the front stepsof the County Office Building.

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