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Maryland Politics
Posted at 04:24 PM ET, 06/20/2011

Montgomery proposes ban on double payments to developers

A proposal to ban double payments to developers who build road, sewers and other infrastructure is slated to be introduced Tuesday in the Montgomery County Council.

The measure, co-sponsored by council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large), council President Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) and council member Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) would end a practice that allowed the developers of a West Germantown subdivision to collect more than $6 million on a project that cost them about $3 million.

The payments occurred even though senior officials in county government and at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission were aware as early as 1998 of the potential for double payments, and some WSSC officials tried to stop them, according to a report in March by then-county Inspector General Thomas J. Dagley.

“There is no justification in the public interest for any developer to get paid twice,” said Elrich, who had been critical of the practice at a hearing in March in which county officials, including Finance Director Jennifer Barrett, attempted to defend the system. Barrett told the council that the system which combined WSSC credits and payments from the county did not actually constitute double payments, an explanation that left many on the council scratching their heads.

The risk of double payments also was flagged in 2007 in a County Council staff report that examined payments to the developer of Clarksburg Town Center. Council staff urged the council to forbid double payments, but no law was passed. The measure to be introduced Tuesday would cure that, Elrich said.

By  |  04:24 PM ET, 06/20/2011

 
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