Berlin Council Amends Good Standing Permit Process

BERLIN – An updated resolution approved this week will ensure property owners making requests of the town have no overdue accounts and are in good standing in Berlin.

On Monday the Berlin Town Council approved a resolution that gives the town administrator the ability to check a property owner’s accounts before they make any special requests. Someone seeking special event approval from the council, for example, would be expected to have all taxes, fees, bills and the like paid in full before making their request. They’re also expected to be in good standing with town regulations.

“I think everyone agrees this is just common sense and treats everyone the same,” Mayor Gee Williams said.

According to Town Administrator Laura Allen, the resolution has been in place for about two years but referred primarily to her withholding licenses if accounts were not current.

“Based on some recent events I’ve been contemplating the use of this policy in a more broad sense and have been asked to take a look at modifying it to apply to cases where an applicant is generally not compliant with other town regulations,” she said.

The updated language gives the town administrator the authority not only to withhold licenses but also to make sure an applicant is “in good standing in all aspects of town policy” and to manage the procedure by which the council considers requests. If Allen checks accounts and finds that someone who wanted to be added to the council agenda to seek special event approval owes the town money or isn’t following town regulations, she will now be able to pull the request from the agenda.

“It authorizes me to pull or not place that request on the agenda until that individual or that group has brought their situation into compliance …,” she said.

If the town administrator does identify an issue with an applicant, they will be notified and given the chance to rectify the situation so their request can be rescheduled.

“It’s intended to put a pause in the process to give the person the opportunity to take corrective action,” Allen said.

Williams praised the resolution.

“I like the idea it takes we the mayor and council off an uncomfortable spot,” Williams said.

Councilman Thom Gulyas said he supported the resolution but had concerns about the provision that the town’s finance department would release the overdue account within 10 days of bills being paid. He thought 48 hours was more reasonable.

“I think we should be more business friendly than 10 days,” Gulyas said. “If they’ve got crews waiting to work it’s going to get expensive for that person.”

The council agreed to the two business days and voted 4-0 to approve the amended resolution.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.