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PERMITS COSTLIER FOR VALLEY RESIDENTS.

Byline: Deborah Sullivan Daily News Staff Writer

A Los Angeles city department has quietly been charging people in the San Fernando Valley and other areas far from City Hall more than others for city permits.

The 7 percent surcharge on permits from the Bureau of Engineering caught the attention of City Council members Laura Chick and Cindy Miscikowski, who on Tuesday called for its abolition as a form of geographical discrimination.

``The second it came to my attention, we looked into it,'' said Chick, who learned of the surcharge when a constituent complained. ``It certainly does not make sense that Valley residents are asked to pay more. The 7 percent surcharge is not fair.''

Homer Morimoto, a Bureau of Engineering division engineer, said the bureau puts a 7 percent charge on permits it issues at its outlying bureaus in the Valley, San Pedro and West Los Angeles on behalf of another city agency, the Bureau of Street Maintenance.

Street-use permits can run from $13 to hundreds of dollars, Morimoto said. The permits allow for activities such as storing lumber or other items on the street while a home is undergoing repairs.

Because the Bureau of Street Maintenance has no offices in outlying areas, the Engineering Bureau provides street-use permits on its behalf and adds the surcharge to cover the cost, Morimoto said.

Constituents who purchased those permits directly from the Street Maintenance office downtown did not have to pay that fee, he said.

``If you live in the San Fernando Valley, you'll have to pay 7 percent more to gain access to this part of city service than if you live in Hollywood or Silver Lake, and we think that's wrong,'' said Glenn Barr, a deputy to Miscikowski.

Both Miscikowski and Chick introduced motions Tuesday to eliminate the fee.

Miscikowski's motion also called for the City Administrative Officer to investigate whether there are any other geography-based permit surcharges and to determine how those can be eliminated.

Both motions called for immediate action to remove the street-use surcharge.

``I am not interested in getting extensive reports,'' Chick said. ``I just want that 7 percent surcharge to be eliminated.''

Morimoto said the Bureau of Engineering also imposes a 7 percent surcharge for training and equipment on its own permits, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. That fee applies to permits issued at both its downtown and outlying offices, he said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 6, 1999
Words:400
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