10/20/04 — Town backs off fee changes

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Town backs off fee changes

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on October 20, 2004 1:59 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont town board passed a new fee schedule Tuesday, but there were no major changes.

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said he wanted to add fees for zoning applications and permits and connection fees for its utilities.

Fremont "is the only town I know that doesn't charge" for zoning applications and permits, McDuffie said. He noted that the town pays $80 to $100 for the required two newspaper advertisements for each public meeting for zoning changes and needed to get the money back.

McDuffie also said residents now pay only a $285 security deposit for all-electric buildings and $185 for buildings heated by other means.

He then proposed a $50 connection fee that would be waived if the customer is hooked onto a load-management electric system.

Aldermen Billy Harvey and Leroy Ruffin asked the board to put off the new fees until Jan. 1. Harvey called them another burden on residents.

At that point, McDuffie suggested that the board help citizens by omitting the $100 fee for a zoning application and the minimum $20 zoning permit fee.

The schedule also includes unchanged fees for water taps ($350), sewer taps ($400), grave sites ($650 at Fremont Cemetery and $700 at Elmwood Cemetery), ballpark tournaments ($100) and minor traffic violations ($10).

Alderman Leon Mooring's motion to accept the fee schedule without the zoning application and permit fees passed in a 5-1 vote with Alderman Sylvester Artis dissenting.

Later in the meeting, Sam Pierce, a former alderman, complained about the fee schedule.

"How can you charge a load-management fee if you don't use it?" he asked.

McDuffie said the town would look into it, and Pierce declared, "I appreciate you cutting me off."

In other business, the board:

*Decided that all items must be at the curb no later than 7 a.m. Nov. 15 for the annual fall cleanup week that will be held from Nov. 11-17.

*Scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Nov. 16 for a request by the Fremont United Methodist Church to erect a 100-foot radio tower. The church has federal permission to broadcast services, music and community events on 99.3 FM.

*Approved a four-way stop sign at North Pine and West South streets.

*Declared the Fire Department's 1974 half-ton truck as surplus and added it to the Nov. 6 public auction.

*Postponed a discussion of a new community development block grant application until Nov. 16 because the deadline has been extended by the state.

*Met in closed session to discuss litigation and a personnel matter.