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Council backs increasing city water benefit charges

November 11, 1999

The Hagerstown City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to introduce an ordinance to change the way city water benefit charges are calculated and increase the benefit charge rate.

A final council vote on the matter is expected Nov. 23, City Clerk Gann Breichner said.

If approved the modified water benefit charge law would become effective Jan. 1, Breichner said.

Water benefit charges currently are based on the size of water pipe used. Under the proposed law, the fees would be based on average daily usage.

The current water benefit charge rate is based on $3.50 per gallon of one day's estimated water use. That fee would increase to $4.50 per gallon under the proposed changes, said Dave Shindle, City Water Department engineer.

In general, water benefit fees are a one-time charge.

Currently, only new water customers pay benefit charges, which theoretically cover the cost of improvements to the water system needed as a result of adding users to the system.

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Under the proposed changes water customers could be charged water benefit fees again if their usage significantly increases from year to year.

Existing nonresidential customers could pay a water benefit charge if their annual average daily usage goes up by more than 100 gallons a day, Shindle said.

He said existing residential customers would be affected only if they added another dwelling unit to their property.

- Dan Kulin

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