Bel Air Proposes Annual $30 Public Works Fee
The Bel Air Board of Commissioners is expected to introduce a proposal to implement a new fee for projects handled by the Department of Public Works.
A proposed town administrative fee could cost some residents $30 more a year in communities where the Department of Public Works conducts special projects.
The proposal was conceived following recurring needs for maintenance to drainage ponds in the Major's Choice development. Officials said the town was no longer interested in using tax dollars for the projects.
Bel Air town finance director, Lisa Moody, explained the town lent a helping hand to members of the development in recent years by making improvements to one of several drainage ponds in the community.
"It’s really the responsibility of the homeowner’s associations to maintain these ponds," Director of Public Works Randy Robertson said during last week's work session.
Robertson said the town reviews these ponds periodically, then notifies the homeowner's association about needed repairs and often recommends contractors.
“In the case of Major’s Choice, they just sort of threw up their hands and said 'Can you help us?', which we don’t really want to be in the business of doing,” Robertson said.
Moody said the project was expected to be a one-time thing, so the town did not charge the impacted community members for administrative fees, finance charges or additional employee time.
Now, Moody said, there are two separate ponds in the same community that need repair and the homeowner's association is requesting the town again do the repairs. Other communities in Bel Air have also reached out for the same service.
"It seems like this is becoming a regular occurrence," Moody said.
In light of the regularity of the projects, Moody said the proposed fee would help the town recoup administrative costs.
"I can tell you from a finance point of view, it takes a lot of billing time," Moody said.
The impacted residents are currently billed for the construction over a several-year period and the proposed fee would include an additional $30 per year for each resident to cover administrative costs.
"We don’t feel like the taxpayers should be paying for this," Moody said, explaining after the meeting that, "It's not fair to use tax money on only a few."
See the attached document for a breakdown of town fees. The new addition is highlighted in yellow.
Are you in favor of this proposed fee? Share your thoughts in the comments.