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City hikes water/sewer rates 5 percent

July 29, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown water and sewer customers can expect to pay higher water and sewer rates starting with bills they receive in October, city officials said.

City Council members voted 4-0 on Tuesday night to approve a 5 percent water rate increase and to introduce a measure for a 5.5 percent sewer rate increase. Councilman Alfred W. Boyer was absent.

The council is expected to adopt the sewer rate increase on Aug. 25. Sewer rate changes require a law to be approved because sewer rates are part of the city code, unlike water rates, said City Clerk Gann Breichner.

The average city customer inside the city limits, who uses 13,000 gallons every three months, pays $35.88 a quarter for sewer and $15.08 a quarter for water.

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When the new rates go into effect, those quarterly rates would go up by $1.95 for sewer and 78 cents for water.

Rates for city water and sewer customers outside the city limits are different.

City officials anticipate small rate increases spread over several years rather than one large increase to help pay for multimillion upgrades to the city's water and sewer plants.

Sewer rate hikes for city customers outside city limits are as follows:

-- Average city sewer customers living outside the city will see their quarterly bills increase from $59.15 to $62.40.

Those customers include residents in areas mostly east and west of the city, such as Brightwood Acres, Brightwood Acres East, Potomac Manor, areas near Hagerstown Junior College, Dual Highway and Greenberry Hills and the Washington County Business Park.

Wastewater for those customers is treated by the city, which also owns the sewer lines.

-- Average sewer customers served jointly by the city and county will see their quarterly bills rise from $50.96 to $53.82.

Those customers include residents who live in Maugansville, Fountain Head, Orchard Hills, Pangborn east of Hagerstown and the area around the Sharpsburg Pike/Interstate 70 interchange.

Wastewater for those customers is treated by the city, although Washington County owns and maintains the sewer collection system in those areas.

Water rate hikes for Hagerstown customers are as follows:

-- Average water customers living outside the city will see their quarterly bills increase from $22.62 to $23.79.

-- Average city water customers who live on the north side of Northern Avenue and farther north will see their quarterly bills increase from $25.22 to $26.39.

Those customers pay an additional charge because extra pumping is needed, said Austin Abraham, the city's project coordinator.

Hagerstown residents' water and sewer bills will continue to include a $12.50 quarterly charge. That charge is the landfill tipping fee and a recycling charge, Abraham said.

The city's water and sewer rates were last hiked in January 1997, when they went up by 5 percent.

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