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Tradesmen protest licensing fees

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Licensed plumbers and electricians in Anne Arundel County have gone to court to get back increased license fees they may have paid the county and to roll back new fees that went into effect July 1.

The Anne Arundel County Master Plumbing Association and the Master Electricians Association of Anne Arundel County sued yesterday, arguing that the county overstepped its bounds when it raised license and permit fees for the tradesmen.

The plumbers and electricians are regulated by the state, and the county has no power to imposed a series of fee hikes, they argued in the suit, filed in Circuit Court.

The increases more than doubled license renewal fees from $25 to $60 for both trades, set additional fees for electricians and established a $100 annual incorporation fee both trades.

That's pretty steep," groused Steven Heidler, an Annapolis plumbing contractor. It will force him to raise prices and drive homeowners to "an untrained handyman," he fretted.

Robert Dvorak, director of inspections and permits said the county is empowered by the state to level such fees, and that the increases merely bring the fee schedule in line with the cost of regulating the trades.

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