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Letter: Believe It or Not

In the Dec. 16 edition, the Record Pilot reported that the mayor had made a statement regarding the proposed increases to fees concerning commercial building permits; minimizing these increases, he reportedly said that it could have been only $ 99 increase per $100,000 of estimated construction cost.

As it turns out, his “could be only $ 99” is actually $300, the same amount that, as I reported in a previous letter, was proposed at the Nov. 23 public hearing and now voted into law by our administration, on the Dec. 28 meeting.

At the same meeting, our pseudo public servants also approved numerous increases in existing fees and, as a sort of Christmas bonus to the people, some interesting new ones.

Having abandoned the idea of a “fence fee” because the public outrage expressed against it was too much to bear, and displaying ill-conceived creativity, they decided to try their luck by imposing a $150 fee on installations of electric meters and $200 fee on installations of HVAC heating, ventilation and central air conditioning systems.

 Calling these new charges “user’s fees” instead of taxes is an insult to anyone with an IQ above 70.

In the case of electrical work, there are no inspections performed by our building department inspectors, in fact the city code mandates that such inspections be performed by specialized state certified inspectors and paid for the by applicants.

  What is the cost that the city is trying to recover in justifying the charges and call them user’s fee? When the question was asked the mayor’s answer was, “These are revenue raising measures for the building department” my point exactly! New taxes.

In the case of the charges on air conditioning system, it gets even more unbelievable.

At the public hearing, I raised the question with the mayor about how a fee can be imposed on an application for a permit when no application process currently exists nor is one required by the code.

Please sit down before you read his answer.

He said that now there will be an application mechanism put in place and a building permit required to install air conditioning systems.

 Here is the problem! Since such ordinance was never voted on or code changes to that matter never approved, contrary to what happens in a normal democracy, in our city the mayor justifies this new charge by promising to enact a new law at a future date so that such imposition could be called a fee instead of tax.

If this is not material for Ripley’s Believe It or Not, I do not know what is!

Pasquale Cervasio