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Haverhill

October 22, 2012

Mayor against waiving YMCA building fees of $60K or more

City's estimate of fees is $60,000 to $100,000

HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini said he will oppose the Haverhill YMCA’s request that the city waive $60,000 in building fees for the Wadleigh House renovation.

The project, across the street from City Hall, is a 22-unit housing development for low-income men and women.

City Council was poised to approve the request last Tuesday night, but postponed the matter after receiving information the fees required by the city might be closer to $100,000. At the meeting, the organization’s director told councilors the fees amounted to $26,000.

The YMCA demolished the former 18-unit home at 170 Main St. this past summer and plans to erect a new, 22-unit building in its place. The new structure, which is expected to be ready for tenants next summer, is designed to be in character with the Main Street Historic District.

YMCA Director Tracy Fuller said the $4.1 million project has proved more costly than anticipated due to asbestos-related issues and other problems.

“Costs have gone over and we need the break to finish it,” she said in asking the council to waive the city fees, suggesting they amount to $26,000.

But Councilor Colin LePage said information he received from the city’s Building Department had the fees closer to $100,000.

Late last week, Fiorentini said the building fees are actually about $60,000, not including water and sewer fees that he said the YMCA also wants the city to forego. The mayor said he did not know the amount of the utility fees, but estimated they could be another $10,000.

Fiorentini said he is against waiving the fees for financial reasons and as a matter of principal.

“Sixty thousand is a lot of money. It’s a full position,” he said. “If we waived the money, we would have to make it up with higher fees somewhere else or with spending cuts.”

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