Smithsburg residents fear sewer, water hikes


Public meeting

  • What: Smithsburg Town Council meeting to vote on the fiscal year 2000 budget.
  • When: Today at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Smithsburg Town Hall, 21 W. Water St., Smithsburg

SMITHSBURG - Some residents are resigned about a Smithsburg Town Council decision to raise water and sewer rates, while others fear repercussions like rent hikes and higher prices for merchandise at local businesses.

"I'm almost afraid to water my flowers," said Jenny Langenstein, who rents a home on East Water Street.

She said she fears the increase will force her landlord to raise her rent.

She and her mother live on fixed incomes and an increase could "make things tight," said Langenstein.

The Town Council voted to raise water and sewer rates for in-town customers by 36 percent and for out-of-town customers by 46 percent. Over the past three years the town has taken money from its reserves to keep rates low.

Mayor Tommy Bowers endorsed the increases, and cast the tie-breaking vote last week.


Council will vote on their fiscal 2000 budget during a meeting today at 7 p.m.

"Any increase is too much," said Randy Harshman owner of Harshman Automotive at 36 E. Water St.

Harshman said his business uses a considerable amount of water. He will wait until he receives his bill to decide if he has to raise prices to compensate, he said.

"It's inevitable that some of it's going to come my way," Greg White, of Grove Creek Circle, said of the costs of fixing the town's water and sewer budget problems.

"It hurts, all at once," said Randy Kline, owner of Smithsburg Auto Parts at 5 W. Water St.

Gradual increases would have been easier to take, but "I guess it needed to be done," he said.

"It's acceptable because it's unavoidable," said Tom Law of West Water Street.

Lisa Jernigan of Stevenson Road agreed. "I'm not thrilled about it but it's necessary," she said.

Jernigan said she wished the sewer and water situation hadn't become such a mess but now is the time to deal with it.

"We need to take care of the problem now," Jake Johnson, of Sherri's Way, agreed.

Lower increases would have been more affordable, but he said he understands why the council made the decision.

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