Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Baltimore should dump 'minor privilege' fees [Letter]

As a business and property owner, I have paid Baltimore's "minor privilege" fees for 29 years ("Minor privilege, major disincentive," Aug. 14). I pay nearly $1,200 a year, so they are not minor. These fees allow my business to have three windows, a sign and an awning. If I wanted to lower my expenses, I guess, I could get rid of the awning, but as a business how do I do without a sign and windows?

About 15 years ago, the city and business community asked me to put a security light on my property. I was more than willing to do this until I found out that I would pay a minor "privilege" fee for doing what they asked. It was like rubbing salt in a wound. Instead of the city forgoing the fees for the light, there have been several person-on-person crimes at the property, including a stabbing. So these fees are not only annoying but dangerous.

Imagine if these fees disappeared and businesses put up awnings, artwork, bicycle racks, flower pots, security lights, and generally improved the neighborhood. It would make our neighborhoods much more attractive and safer all at a cost of $2.7 million a year to the city. Considering all the money the city throws at trying to improve itself, this seems like a drop in the bucket and additionally, the businesses actually pay for the improvements!

The mayor's assurance that she is "reforming" the fees, is not at all reassuring. Forget reform and try eliminate.

Steven Pinson, Baltimore

To respond to this letter, send an email to Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Mfume: Sun is too quick to judge Mosby

    Mfume: Sun is too quick to judge Mosby

    Last November Baltimore elected the youngest prosecutor of any major American city, and Marilyn Mosby has brought a balanced approach and a steady hand to the work of restoring a sense of justice and civility to the city's criminal justice system.

  • Why not just give Iran the bomb?

    Why not just give Iran the bomb?

    I have a great idea for an update to the Iran deal that would save a lot of time. We should go ahead and provide Iran with nuclear weapons and also some ICBMs. This will substantially shorten the time necessary for them to develop or purchase them on their own.

  • No more riots, please

    No more riots, please

    Wow. City "leaders" getting ready for protests (also known as riots), thanks for the "heads up" ("City readies for protests," Aug. 27). It's time the law-abiding, taxpaying citizens of Baltimore say loud and clear: "Enough!"

  • Don't coddle dirt-bikers

    Don't coddle dirt-bikers

    I find it amazing that the illegal dirt bikers will probably have a place to ride some day ("City should have zero tolerance for dirt-bikes," Aug. 27). If it is illegal, how will they get to the area that will be provided without riding on the city streets? I guess it will soon be OK for me to...

  • Trump unfit to serve

    Trump unfit to serve

    I am amazed at the number of voters who listen to Donald Trump and support his bluster and arrogance ("Baltimore, others cities say Trump's comments on immigrants in gangs unfounded," Aug. 27). It seems that they don't realize the United States is not a corporation run by one person.

  • Hogan shortchanges Md. schools

    Hogan shortchanges Md. schools

    John F. Kennedy once said "the goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth." Pragmatic and visionary leaders such as President Kennedy realize that in order for society to progress efficiently, we need to allocate the necessary resources needed to boost our...