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City backs off on charging school system for building permits

After Grady County School System officials voiced concerns last month over a “new” City of Cairo policy of charging other local government entities for building permits, the Cairo City Council on Monday night voted to grant a blanket waiver on building fees for Grady County and Grady County Board of Education building projects.
“I’m looking out for the city. If the council wants to waive the fee or in the future waive all permit fees for government entities then we need to make that our policy. I just want to make sure we are consistent,” Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton told city councilmen last month.
Addleton said last month he decided the city should charge itself for building permits for projects such as the new Community Service Department building and Davis Park, because money is coming out of an enterprise fund into the general fund and helps defray the cost of the operation of the city building department.
School system officials say based on their projected construction costs, if the city had charged fees for all of their upcoming building projects it would cost the school system nearly $30,000 in permit fees to the city.
On Monday night, Addleton recommended the council waive fees for the county and board of education. Any other public agency or non-profit organization would have to make a request for waiving building permits to the council.
Addleton said in the past the city has waived fees for Habitat for Humanity, the Grady County Joint Development Authority and Grady General Hospital.
“We can look at the others on a case by case basis,” Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said before offering a motion to waive all permit fees for county and board of education projects.
The council voted unanimously in support of Douglas’ motion, however District 5 Councilman Kermit Gilliard, who is the Grady County superintendent of schools, abstained from the vote.
The council last month approved waiving the fee for the Southside Elementary School auditorium renovation project.

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