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Town Board discusses building fees and fees for services

In an effort to reduce some of the property tax burden, the Town Board continued its review at Tuesday’s work session of Building Department fees with an eye to collecting money from those using various services, thus easing payments on all taxpayers.

Senior Building Inspector Reed Karen outlined a lengthy list of fee changes he said better reflects actual costs for the services he and his colleagues render to those making changes to their properties.

A full list of his suggested fees appears on the Town website, accessible on the page for Town Board meetings. Mr. Karen also told the Town Board there should be a discussion that a certificate of occupancy be updated whenever a property is transferred from one owner to another.

That would ensure that, if a previous owner made unauthorized changes to property, they could either be required to eliminate those changes, or have them covered by a new certificate of occupancy, so the property buyer has a clean record of what has been allowed.

There was a discussion of changes made to properties without reporting work to the Building Department. In some cases, Mr. Karen said it involves a property where owners applied for permits for work, got permission to proceed, but made changes without notifying the Building Department.

In other cases, it might result from ignorance that some changes required approval. But still others can result from people who make changes to their properties figuring they will pay a small penalty if they get caught.

Fuel Surcharge

 Highway Supervisor and Public Works Commissioner Brian Sherman told Town Board  members he’s looking at suggesting a fuel surcharge to reflect changes in costs for transferring materials that come into the Recycling Center to other venues.

Construction debris is costly to deal with, Mr. Sherman said, and the site where such material is taken now is closing next year and he expects to need an alternative receiver of concrete and other materials. That is likely to require a site at a longer distance, he said. He expects to have more information available on specific cost increases for the Town Board within a week, he said.

Cozy Lane House

For the second time, the Town has reached out to the owner of a house on Cozy Lane, which the building inspector has declared unsafe and in violation of several provisions of the state Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Neighbors have long complained about the deteriorated structure at 9 Cozy Lane.

The owner, William Conroy, now living in South Portland, Maine, was sent a notice that failure to act within 30 days will result in a hearing held to determine measures to deal with the unsafe conditions and charge costs to Mr. Conroy. The action was taken at a special meeting following Tuesday’s work session.