SALISBURY, Md.— The Salisbury City Council on Monday night unanimously voted to approve the first reading of Mayor Jim Ireton's proposal to cut the water capacity fee the city charges developers.
Developers needing water connections for amenities such as sinks and fire sprinkler systems are currently charged a $8,509 water capacity fee for each hookup, but the proposal would lower that amount to $3,873. Ireton said a competitive water capacity fee could help the city become the second most attractive municipality in Maryland to potential developers.
"This proposal works hand in hand with the plan for transformation downtown," Ireton said. "It puts it on the map for a developer, the city could become the second-most attractive municipality in Maryland...We have put Salisbury on sale and I'm excited about it. We put a 60 percent off sign in the window and said it's time to come here and do business."
Some City Council members believe the fee should be lowered due to a trend of slowed growth. However, they also want to consider any possible legal ramifications. Council President Terry Cohen said the proposal is still in the works. She added, "This is a numbers-driven process. This number 3,873 is a number from our public works director. This is the maximum and sensible cost we could charge based on projects involving capacity in our capital improvement plan."
Vocal community members like Joe Albero, who has announced he will be running for mayor next year, said cutting the fee will increase subsidizing housing.
"I think the plan is completely wrong," Albero said. "We do not need subsidized housing in downtown Salisbury that would depreciate the property values. Downtown needs a plan geared towards entertainment and accessibility "
Ireton said a creation of more subsidized housing will not be an issue. His main focus is to create more incentives to attract more developers to Salisbury.
"We are not giving Salisbury away, but the profit margins that existed seven or eight years ago in this country do not exist anymore," Ireton said.
After Monday night's first reading, the council voted to have a second reading and second vote on the proposal before it can become law.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:37 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:37:33 GMT
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